File: Students writing matric exams in Cape Town.

Cape Town - Thousands of students in the Western Cape will begin writing the 2017 National Senior Certificate (NSC) on Monday, starting with Computer Applications Technology.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) on Friday said 7,807 full time and 272 are part-time candidates are sitting for the complex exam that relied on reliable electricity supplies.

"The preparation for the CAT and IT examination is quite complex given that we have to prepare for a wide range of scenarios in order to avoid any disruption to the exams. Such eventualities could include adverse weather conditions causing power failures," said Debbie Schäfer, the provinces education minister in a statement on Friday. 

She said to avoid any planned power disruptions, the WCED has engaged with both Eskom and the relevant municipalities regarding the dates and times of the 2017 Computer Applications Technology and Information Technology examinations.

"Eskom has indicated that they have captured the matric exams as a key activity in the province and have therefore not scheduled any planned electricity interruptions on 16th and 17th October 2017 in their direct Eskom supply areas across the Western Cape."

Schäfer said the officials of the WCED have already visited examination venues to ensure that all networks and stand-alone workstations have been properly set up and that all relevant instructional procedures have been adhered to.
"If a power failure does occur during the examination, the centre manager must immediately inform the local authorities and also ascertain from them, if possible, how long the power failure is likely to last." 

The WCED must also be immediately informed of the power failure and a series of procedures will kick in including that candidates must then remain in the computer room until the power supply is restored.
"Candidates may not communicate with one another while waiting for the power supply to be restored. The time lost during the power failure must be allowed as additional examination time," said Schäfer. 

"If, after two hours, the power supply has not been restored, the examination must be re-scheduled in consultation with the WCED’s Directorate: Examination Administration."
She said the work completed by the candidates must be handed in and submitted to the WCED, together with all the relevant documents.
"In the event of an examination being cancelled because of a power failure, the candidates must do the back-up paper on a date set by the national Department of Basic Education," said Schäfer.
"In the event of computer breakdowns during the examination, candidates must be immediately moved to back-up equipment, and the appropriate additional time will be provided to the candidate."

The same procedures will apply on Tuesday when  833 full time and 8 part time NSC Candidates write Information Technology examinations. 
African News Agency