Well wishes have streamed in for candidates writing their matric exams. At least 124 065 candidates nationally will sit today for English Home Language, while 609 830 will write English First Additional Language and four candidates, the English Second Language.
Well wishes have streamed in for candidates writing their matric exams. At least 124 065 candidates nationally will sit today for English Home Language, while 609 830 will write English First Additional Language and four candidates, the English Second Language.

Matrics set to give exams their best shot

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Oct 27, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - It’s all systems go as matrics across the country commence their make-or-break NSC exams that will determine whether or not they proceed to tertiary institutions as planned for next year.

This will be the second cohort of matrics writing under tough Covid-19 conditions.

At least 124 065 candidates nationally will sit for English home language, today, while 609 830 will write English first additional language and English second language.

Eighteen-year-old Shana van Wyk from Alexander Sinton High School said while she had been studying as best she could, she was still nervous.

“I feel like we didn’t have a lot of time to study and there was so much work to do.

“We tried to catch up, even on weekends. I had to sacrifice a lot of things, including not seeing my friends, because we don’t know what to expect in the exams even though we are going through past exam papers.

“We all want to make our families proud and further our studies at higher education institutions,” she said.

Kiona Pfeiffer ,18, from St Joseph’s Marist College in Rondebosch said Accounting was a subject she was most worried about.

“This year has been chaotic. A lot of uncertainty and rushing so I’m ready to get it over with.

“I’ve never had this much stress before because of the late notices and short time periods to hand in work.

“Also, the constant changing of hand-in dates. I feel anxious, mostly because it’s a large part of my year mark and it affects whether or not I get into university.”

Of the 897 786 candidates in total this year, 73 966 are from the Western Cape.

The learners will be writing at 6 326 public exam centres, 526 independent centres and 326 designated centres across the country.

The exams will conclude on December 7.

Well wishes for the learners have been flooding in from teacher unions and civil organisations, while calls have been made for all sectors to rally behind them, including the transport sector.

WCED MEC Debbie Schäfer said: “Very, very good luck to every one of our matrics for your last school exams ever. You have come this far. It has been a difficult time for you, but you have a whole province rooting for you and I know that you are up to the challenge. We look forward to celebrating your results with you in January.

“I also just want to say to each one of you – just do your best. While this is an important exam, there are options if you don’t do as well as you hoped. So just focus, do your best and soon it will be over. Don’t forget to eat healthily and get enough sleep. Good luck – you’ve got this.”

Earlier this year, taxi-related violence had disturbed schooling in some parts of the Western Cape.

Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association secretary Mandla Herman said they were not expecting disruption to their services and as such would be able to provide adequate transport for matrics as they begin their final exams.

Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) shared the same sentiments, saying they expected matrics to be transported safely.

Meanwhile, train line repairs were ongoing between Fish Hoek and Steenberg as a result of previous vandalism, and the line has not yet been declared safe for operations.

Along the Northern Line vandalism of the Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) substation affected overhead power at Wellington.

A train shuttle service was suspended temporarily between Kraaifontein and Wellington stations, and commuters had to use alternative transport arrangements at the affected stations.

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) spokesperson Akhona Jonginamba said they pledged to fully support learners by working with SGBs to ensure safety during the exams.

“We do understand that our communities might have burning issues especially facing the Local Government Elections but we call for calm as this might disturb the examinations.”

The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation SA (Naptosa) executive director Basil Manuel said: “It is concerning that learners who committed acts of dishonesty during last year’s examinations have still not been properly and appropriately sanctioned.

“At the same time, we also hope not to see the knee-jerk reaction of last year when the DBE immediately ordered a national rewrite of the leaked paper before establishing the full extent of such irregularity. The learners have enough to contend with, without having additional stress piled on them by a looming rewrite.”

Manuel said another potential stress was the current insensitive Eskom load shedding schedule that will impact the start of the exams as it is to continue until October 30.

“We trust that the DBE and PEDs have contingency plans in place to ensure that this untimely action by Eskom does not disrupt the examination.”

South African Democratic Teachers Union general secretary Mugwena Maluleke urged matrics to get vaccinated and their parents to provide support.

“We urge our parents and families to give their utmost support to the learners by giving them the time and space to study and focus on these exams. We commend the 2021 class for doing their best to prepare for these exams by attending extra classes to compensate for the time lost due to disturbances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Many had to work harder to cover the Grade 11 work which they could not complete in 2020. We call on the department to ensure that the examination centres comply with safety regulations,” he said.

Equal Education general secretary Noncedo Madubedube said: “Today, we speak to you in the hope that these exams will reflect the hard work you have put in throughout your schooling. May this final step lead you to the opportunities that you deserve.”

Cape Times

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