PRETORIA – As almost one million hopeful matrics sit for the National Senior Certificate examinations, starting today, President Cyril Ramaphosa has offered his best wishes to the Class of 2021 and saluted the learners’ resilience in a second consecutive year plagued by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ramaphosa highlighted that the commencement of the National Senior Certificate examination marks a commendable milestone at the end of a challenging year.
He said South Africans can be proud of the determination, focus and sacrifice with which learners braved this academic year in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on school life, home life, social interaction and society as a whole.
“We are immensely proud of the nearly 900 000 candidates who will be sitting for the National Senior Certificate examination, which is a significant personal milestone as well as an important marker for the future of our nation,” Ramaphosa said.
“We are deeply indebted to families, educators and school governing bodies who made it possible for learners to make it to these examinations by introducing innovative means for learners to complete their curriculum.
“The Grade 11s of 2020 persisted with their studies in a year in which Covid-19 arrived on our shores, with its devastating impact on our physical and psychological well-being. This year we place our arms of support around the Class of 2021 who have persevered and endured in their effort to create a better future for themselves, their families and our economy,” Ramaphosa said.
The president reminded the matrics that the examinations are critical in laying a firm foundation in the learners’ lives.
“We wish you the best of success in your final revision and in your examinations, which will lay the foundations for your life as independent, adult members of our society,” Ramaphosa said.
The president called on learners to adhere to Covid-19 safety regulations throughout the examination period and in the celebrations beyond, and calls on learners to present themselves for Covid-19 vaccination which is “safe, quickly administered and free of charge”.
Ramaphosa urged learners who may experience anxiety during the examinations period to reach out to parents, educators, counsellors or helplines to discuss their difficulties and find the necessary motivation to complete their school career successfully.
Matrics will be writing their first theoretical paper today, which will be the language papers. They will conclude exams on December 7.
The group of matrics have had to face tumultuous challenges in their last couple of school years. Last year, as the group of Grade 11s, their academic learning time was disrupted by numerous school closures brought by the pandemic.
The national Department of Basic Education said it was hopeful that this group would do well in the exams and even surpass last year’s pass mark.