Grade 12 Learners at Brackenfell High school kick off this year's final exams by writing the English First Additional Language paper. More than a million candidates will sit for the combined Senior Certificate and the National Senior Certificate exams from today. The exams have been combined with the June exams due to disruptions to the schooling calendar, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The matric class of 2020 is set to write their last paper on the 15th of December. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Grade 12 Learners at Brackenfell High school kick off this year's final exams by writing the English First Additional Language paper. More than a million candidates will sit for the combined Senior Certificate and the National Senior Certificate exams from today. The exams have been combined with the June exams due to disruptions to the schooling calendar, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The matric class of 2020 is set to write their last paper on the 15th of December. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Best wishes to Matric Class of 2020 as they begins final exams

By Sne Masuku Time of article published Nov 5, 2020

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Durban - KWAZULU-NATAL Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu wished the Class of 2020 well as matrics sat down to write their first common paper, English Paper 1, today in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination.

“Good luck, we are all behind you and we have a strong belief that despite the challenges of the year, the class of 2020 will make us proud.” Mshengu’s advice to the more than 129000 KZN pupils was for them to focus and to not panic.

“It has been an unusual academic year, but we thank the extra effort by our teachers to save the academic year after schools were disrupted and forced to shut down as a means to curb the spread of Covid-19.

We also thank the support of the teacher unions and the parents during this difficult time.” Mshengu said all education stakeholders had their eyes on the ball and a common goal for the province.

“We as the department gave the best support we could give to both our teachers and pupils. We support all the education stakeholders that brought us to this day, the day of the examinations. We also appreciate the efforts by other departments including the law enforcement agencies, the religious organisations for prayers and the hard work put in by all the department of education employees. It was not easy.”

KwaZulu-Natal has the largest number of matric candidates each year, and this year the numbers were even higher due to the additional number of candidates who were supposed to have written NSC exams in June.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these exams were postponed to November. Tthe department has stood firm on its target, wanting nothing less than an 80% matric pass rate this year, despite the time lost when schools were closed. The department said Mshengu would monitor the start of the matric examinations at Nyonithwele Secondary School in Edendale while members of the education portfolio committee, teacher unions, and department officials would also be out and about to monitor the examinations around the province.

The National Teachers Union (Natu) appealed for teachers to continue providing support to pupils and for parents to ensure their children have enough time to concentrate on their studies.

Natu president Alan Thompson said as much as the union would have preferred delaying the exams in order for pupils to get ready, the universities were also under pressure to have the results for the registration processes.

Thompson said Natu was engaging with Umalusi, the council for quality assurance in general and further education and training, to consider the impact of Covid-19 during the standardisation process of the results.

“We believe that provisions should be done for the class of 2020, after all, we cannot expect them to be treated like the 2018 and the 2019 candidates, the Covid-19 pandemic should be considered.”

The National Professional Teachers organisation of SA (Naptosa) spokesperson Thirona Moodley said they were confident that all was done to ensure smooth operations of the exams. “Naptosa has appointed monitors throughout the province and will keep a close eye on the examinations.

We wish the class of 2020 the best and we are confident that despite the disruptive year, they will do well,” said Moodley.

The DA spokesperson on Education Dr Imraan Keeka said the pupils worked hard and wished them well. “We are hopeful that they will pace themselves well to ensure that they are healthy, both mentally and physically, to cope with the demands of the days ahead, said Keeka.

Daily News

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