Load shedding won’t affect exams, but will disrupt matric study times

Boy studying in darkness.

While load shedding will not affect exams there is concern that it will be difficult for matrics to study. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Published Oct 27, 2021


Load shedding will not affect the matric 2021 examinations, the Department of Basic Education said.

Concerns over the impact load shedding will have on the exams arose when Eskom announced that it would be extending load shedding up until Saturday, October 30. This is while matrics were expected to start their National Senior Certificate examinations on Wednesday, October 27.

Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said: “Load shedding is a real concern however does not affect the examinations itself as natural light is sufficient for writing. The only challenge is when our candidates are delayed and arrive late due to traffic change congestion resulting from the load shedding.”

Mhlanga said the department was working with Eskom, communicating its concerns.

“But there’s minimum impact of the power cuts on the matric examinations,” he said.

Earlier this week, the power utility initially stated Stage 2 would be implemented at 9am but said that it had to implement power cuts sooner due to Unit 1 of Kusile and Matimba Unit 5 having tripped. This has added to the capacity constraints and taken 1 3000 MW of power off the grid.

Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer last week said she was extremely concerned regarding potential load shedding during the practical exams because they are computer-based. Last Tuesday, matric did their Computer Application Technology practical, and on Wednesday, they did their Information Technology practical exam.

“Fortunately, load shedding was suspended in time, and we had no incidents our province with those practicals,” she said.

Schafer agreed that the impact of load shedding during exams was minimum as light in exam venues was sufficient, natural light. She said it also does not affect security measures for exam papers.

“We are nonetheless concerned as load-shedding affects the ability of learners to have sufficient lighting at home to study, and can also affect their journey to and from school to write. We urge Eskom to take this into consideration and limit power cuts as much as possible. The WCED will closely monitor the exams and deal with any problems that may arise,” she said.