Pupils writing matric examinations. File Picture: Michael Walker/ African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Education said the return of load shedding on Wednesday morning affected 10 of its 36 exam centres for the computer applications technology paper. 

Wednesday marked the start of the matric final examinations, and also the return of load shedding, which had been kept at bay since April this year.

Power utility Eskom announced Stage 2 nationwide load shedding on Wednesday morning, plunging some exam venues into darkness. 

The return of load shedding affected some exam venues, Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona confirmed on Thursday.

Mabona said the department was able to put in place contingency measures which included providing generators and transporting matric pupils to write at other exam centres which had electricity.

“GDE has 36 exam centres, whereby 26 centres managed to complete the exams with the use of generators which were on stand-by as a contingency plan, making the effects of power cuts minimal. 

“Some learners from these centres were transported to other centres to enable them to successfully complete their exams,” he said. 

“However, 10 centres were unable to write due to load-shedding. A total of 317 learners are scheduled to re-write their exams at a later date to be announced by the Department of Basic Education (DBE),” said Mabona. 

Mabona said pupils wrote Paper One of the Information Technology exam on Thursday. 

He said the department had put in place precautionary measures to deal with power cuts: 

  • Schools will have generators on stand-by

  • Schools will quarantine pupils for up to 2 hours until the power is restored. Those affected will be credited with equivalent additional time.

  • Matric pupils will be moved to other centres which are not affected by load-shedding.

  • If all contingencies fail, pupils will be sent home and they will have to write a back-up exam at a later date, determined by the national department.

Meanwhile, Mabona confirmed that no matric pupils were affected when a bomb scare was reported at the Vaal Edu College on Wednesday.

“Fortunately this happened after Grade 12 candidates were done with their exams and their work saved. The bomb squad was called on site and the evacuation plan was implemented,” said Mabona.

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