Panyaza Lesufi is the Gauteng member of the Executive Council for Education
Panyaza Lesufi is the Gauteng member of the Executive Council for Education

Matric exams are test run for challenges to come. Embrace them

By Opinion Time of article published Oct 18, 2021

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OPINION: To all learners, this is an opportunity for you to show the world your capabilities, and this should be a milestone to open opportunities for your future endeavours; a reminder that matric or the National Senior Certificate examinations are a stepping stone, a test run for challenges to come during the following years.

By Panyaza Lesufi

BELEAGUERED by the looming examinations, this is the season that finds Grade 12 learners indoors, hunched over their desks revising all of their subjects, and they will soon be haunted by the echo of the invigilator’s “Start the exam” and “Time’s up. Put down your pens”.

Over 890 000 matric learners around the country are expected to write the National Senior Certificate exams, which are scheduled to begin on October 27 and conclude on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.

Marking is scheduled to commence on December 8 and end on December 22, 2021. The provisional release of results is scheduled for January 21, 2022.

Gauteng has the second-highest number of candidates at 132 888, after 178 151 for KwaZulu-Natal. There are 106 573 for Limpopo, 96 944 for Eastern Cape, 36 399 for Free State, 69 272 for Mpumalanga, 42 147 for North West, 13 465 for the Northern Cape and 59 838 for the Western Cape. There are 162 109 learners who will be writing as part-time candidates.

MATRIC, A STEPPING STONE

To all learners, this is an opportunity for you to show the world your capabilities, and this should be a milestone to open opportunities for your future endeavours; a reminder that matric or the National Senior Certificate examinations are a stepping stone, a test run for challenges to come during the following years.

In preparation for the successful examination period, chief invigilators and invigilators for all examination centres have been officially appointed and trained. An extensive network of monitors has been established to ensure that the processes relating to conduct, administration and management of the examinations is fair, credible and has integrity.

The department has partnered with law enforcement agencies to provide daily assistance in securing question papers and answer books, and to also necessitate a smooth distribution and collection of exam materials.

MAJOR STRATEGIC INTERVENTIONS

My colleagues across the nine provinces under the leadership of Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga have also done everything possible in ensuring that our learners have been given the best possible advantage to do well in these examinations.

Despite Covid-19 challenges, there were subject-specific interventions implemented throughout the year.

For example, in Gauteng the Secondary School Improvement Programme (SSIP) was utilised as a major strategic intervention for progressed and high-risk learners. SSIP has been running for a number of years on Saturdays and during school holidays to sustain the improved Grade 12 performance over the past years.

As part of our final push strategy to ensure the preparedness of learners, we also implemented Matric Revision Camps across the province. These camps were meant to provide opportunities for intensive study and drill sessions aimed at increasing content coverage as well as intensive exam practice and preparation.

All candidates including those who tested positive for Covid-19 or display Covid-19 symptoms will be accommodated during the examinations.

Isolation rooms at examination centres will be used for writing by candidates who test positive for Covid-19 or display symptoms during writing.

COUNSELLING ASSISTANCE

There is a standing agreement with Childline to assist learners who experience stress due to exam pressure. Learners can phone Childline on their toll-free number – 0800 055 555, to seek counselling services. Parents or members of the community are also urged to use these contact details for learner support.

Despite the unprecedented conditions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, passing matric can be a great confidence booster that offers a route to eventual success on the other side.

TOP FIVE TIPS

Here are my top five tips for successful final preparations for the National Senior Certificate exams:

 TAKE YOUR TIME

Work out a revision timetable for each week’s work in advance – remember to cover all of your subjects. Write any important information you need to remember on cards you can carry around with you or store them on your mobile phone; then you have something useful to look at as part of revision. If you feel nervous and panicky, talk to parents and teachers and get reassurance.

 TIMETABLE

Create a study timetable that suits you and be realistic. After school or early evening are good times to study, but late at night should be a time for rest – to let you brain and body recuperate.

 FRESH AIR

It is not great to study for long periods because your brain will get tired and stop taking in information. Break revision down into manageable chunks or for 30-40 minutes, then get up, go outside and get some fresh air before you’re ready to sit down and start again.

 SWITCH OFF

It is also imperative to turn off your mobile phone. It may be a big distraction.

 DURING THE EXAM

Familiarise yourself with the exam instructions. Read the questions thoroughly before you begin to answer. Make sure you know exactly what the question is asking you to do. Watch your time and pace yourself. Return to difficult questions later. Use spare time towards the end to check your answers.

BEST OF LUCK

We are looking forward to improved performance in the National Senior Certificate results.

We thank all people involved in preparing for the matric exams.

We would like to wish all our Grade 12 learners the best of luck and assure them of our full support. Learners are urged to conduct themselves with honesty during the examination process. Cheating may result in a criminal record.

We urge parents to support their children throughout the examination process, regardless of the outcome.

* Panyaza Lesufi is is the Gauteng member of the Executive Council for Education

** The views expressed here may not be those of IOL.

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