Pregnant or with fees arrears, no learner must be blocked from writing exams, says Basic Education DG

The Department of Basic Education has urged communities to report schools preventing pupils from writing exams because they are pregnant or owe fees.

The Department of Basic Education has urged communities to report schools preventing pupils from writing exams because they are pregnant or owe fees.

Published Nov 7, 2022


Pretoria – Director-general of the Department of Basic Education, Mathanzima Mweli, has urged schools and communities across South Africa to allow every learner registered for the critical National Senior Certificate examinations to participate in the critical tests even when they are pregnant or owing school fees.

“We want to make a special plea, once more to the South African public to help us to protect the exams. Help us to ensure that our young people do not miss this opportunity that they most deserve and desperately need, to sit for their final year exams,” Mweli told journalists in Pretoria, giving an update after the first week of matric examinations.

“We’ve also picked up that there are some parents, and some schools that denied learners from writing exams because some of them fell pregnant and some of them had not paid school fees. Again, this is unlawful. Our policies are very clear on these matters. The issue of school fees should be dealt with by parents or guardians. No learner should be prevented from writing exams because of having not paid school fees.

“We really want to appeal to parents, school principals, and community members that they should please report to us, any incidents of this nature so that our intervention is timely, to secure the opportunity for these young people to write exams,” Mweli said.

With the heavy rains experienced in many parts of South Africa, the director-general also appealed to parents and schools to make alternative arrangements for learners to stay close to schools where they are be writing their matric examinations.

“The rains that we experienced of late are irregular, unprecedented. So, we want to make a special plea to parents, communities and school principals and teachers to work together to make alternative arrangements for learners to have accommodation close to the school where they will be writing exams so that if you experience overnight heavy rains and flooding, they are not locked out of the examination centre,” he said.

“Once more, we want to thank our nation and our public, to thank our teachers, school principals and particularly our exam officials who have been spending sleepless nights to make sure that our exams proceed unhindered.”

Mweli said the Department of Basic Education is concerned about the planned public service strike. He said a contingency plan has been crafted, working with all provinces to buttress learners from the effect thereof.

Last month, the Public Servants Association of South Africa rejected the government’s offer to public servants of a 3% salary adjustment and continuation of a cash gratuity until March 31.

The PSA filed a notice to strike on October 24 and speculation is that they can now go on strike any time.

The country’s matrics started their final exams last week when more than 794 000 candidates sat for the English Paper 1 in 6 800 centres around the country.

There are 753 964 full-time candidates and 167 915 part-time candidates registered for 2022 matric exams, with 6 307 public schools doubled as exam centres.

The ministerial announcement of the results will be on January 19, and it will be followed by the provincial release of results a day later.