DURBAN - ESKOM has turned down Umalusi’s request to keep the lights on during the matric exam period.
The council for quality assurance in education and training’s chief executive Mafu Ramoketsi had appealed to the Department of Basic Education to speak to Eskom to pause load shedding until the exams were over. However, the state power utility dismissed the request.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha on Wednesday said Eskom implemented load shedding as a last resort, therefore it could not accede to the request.
Despite this, the matric exams kicked off on a high note in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday with many pupils saying the paper was easy.
They wrote English home language, English first additional language and English second additional language.
According to the KZN Department of Education, a total of 201 107 pupils wrote the exams. The Daily News interviewed Durban Girls’ High School matric pupils shortly after they wrote their first paper. While they felt the 2-hour paper was easy, they said time was against them.
Amahle Dlamini said the paper was exactly what she had expected.
“I think the paper was quite the same as all the previous years. I expected it because I studied the papers from previous years. Time management during the paper was almost impossible, but I am glad that I managed to finish on time.”
Thendral Valayatham said writing the exams was a shocking experience.
“I think our exam paper went quite well as we have been revising in class, online and at home. But, I think the real shock was because last year in Grade 11, we did not write exams or experience being in an exam venue. We first got the experience during the trial exams. Now, I feel like there was no time in between trials and finals but I’m glad we got the feel to push harder.
“Remembering that I am doing this for the last time kept me calm during the exam. I knew I had to give it my all. I wrote based on time construction. If I came across a question that I found difficult, I left enough space to answer it later and proceeded to the next one so that as time grew closer I was done with the ones I was sure about,” said Thendral.
Lwethu Mthembu said the exam was manageable.
“I wouldn’t say the paper was difficult but it was manageable. Revising the papers helped me to make it through. I am confident that I tried my best. We have been through a lot since the pandemic but I am glad that with all the support from our families and friends we made it here.”
Tamryn Powys said time was a problem.
“Time was moving fast but I think we learnt to manage time because it honestly waits for no man.”
Earlier in the day, Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu and his team of officials visited Nhlakanipho High School in KwaMashu where he warned pupils not to cheat.
The department has released a cheating hotline number, 069 335 218, urging pupils and everyone to report cheaters.
The information would be treated confidentially.
It hailed the start of the exams as successful. Acting head of department Dr Barney Mthembu told the Daily News that according to reports from the various districts, all went well. He said the writing of the first paper started and ended without problems.
This was corroborated by teacher unions which said that no incidents were reported by their members.