Independent Online

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Big day for Cape matric pupils as they begin exams under challenging times

Matric pupils who sit today for their exams will do so under challenging circumstances because of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Matric pupils who sit today for their exams will do so under challenging circumstances because of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Nov 5, 2020

Share

Cape Town - Matric pupils who sit today for their exams will do so under challenging circumstances because of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, the impact of which could see the worst results in decades.

More than a million candidates enrolled for the 2020 National Senior Certificate (NSC) commence with their exams today, 95 427 of them in the Western Cape.

Story continues below Advertisement

More than 41 000 pupils in the province begin their morning session with English first additional language, followed by 27 810 who will write the English home language exam.

Stellenbosch University’s curriculum studies department chairperson, Professor Michael le Cordeur, said what looked impossible six months ago was now a reality.

He said that the results could be the worst in decades as the pandemic and lockdown could impact on performance.

The school closure in August was one week too many and, as a result, many pupils did not return to school, he said.

“It is a well-known fact that the longer children are out of school, the less the likelihood that they will return. It’s my opinion that the politicians, teacher unions and education officials got it wrong during that pivotal month of August,” he said.

He said even if a high drop-out rate could give a false sense of the results, he predicted a decline of at least 5%, and that in some provinces it could even be more.

Story continues below Advertisement

UWC Education faculty’s deputy dean of research, Rouaan Maarman, said: “This year’s exams are based on a haphazard schooling year, where the already varied experiences of the different socio-economic classes will be a lot more pronounced as the poor pupils experienced the schooling year with more challenges.”

Education activist Hendrick Makaneta said to maintain good performance in the midst of the difficult period, the Department of Basic Education would be faced with two options: to instruct markers to be lenient and not penalise pupils, especially in gateway subjects such as maths and science.

“Or the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) may also make serious adjustments for all schools in the interests of progress to ensure that learners were able to proceed into the terrain of higher education,” Makaneta said.

Story continues below Advertisement

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said she knew that this year had been unusual and unsettling, but that she had absolute confidence in the matric pupils’ resilience and ability to succeed.

“Our matrics are already going to have to cope with some unusual safety measures because of Covid-19, and will understandably be nervous… We cannot afford to cause them any additional anxiety,” said Schäfer.

SA Democratic Teachers Union general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said: “It had been said that matrics were going to write an examination that was set in 2018, which did not take into account the challenges learners encountered this year. However, despite all these challenges, they have shown resilience and are going to sit for these exams.”

Story continues below Advertisement

ANC provincial spokesperson on education Khalid Sayed said the party had learnt of too many who did not make it back to class. “The ANC also calls on all not to give up, but through determination to continue with their studies,” he said.

Cape Argus

Share