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MEC appeals to politicians and Eskom not to disrupt the matric final exams which is met with different reactions

MEC asks for no interference during matric exams. file image

MEC asks for no interference during matric exams. file image

Published Oct 19, 2021


Cape Town – MEC of Education Debbie Schäfer is appealing to Eskom, politicians and communities not to disrupt the final exams of matriculants with load shedding, election activity, strikes and protests.

The appeal has met different reactions from politicians who have agreed to the request while others state that local governments had set the tone themselves due to poor service delivery.

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Today, the practical examinations begin for the National Senior Certificate for 2021 while the sitting exams are expected to begin on October 27.

Schäfer said they faced the threat of possible load shedding and is appealing to Eskom to prevent this from happening during both practical and sitting exams.

The MEC’s office confirmed this email was communicated to Eskom.

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She added while local government elections were looming, it could arise to disruptions and that strikes such as taxi and protests were also frequent this time of year

“Unfortunately, we face the looming threat of load-shedding, which was implemented for a large part of last week,” she said.

“It is extremely disappointing that this has again reared its head just as the NSC practical tasks are set to begin.

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“So significant is this risk that, despite the Department of Basic Education engaging with Eskom in the hope of preventing power supply disruption this year, it has taken the precautionary step of scheduling a rewrite of these practical exams into the matric exam calendar (December 7).

“The WCED is also prepared with standard procedures to follow in the event of a power supply disruption (whether scheduled or not).

“I appeal to Eskom to do everything it can to prevent disruption to power not only during these practical exams, but also during the exam sittings from October 27 onwards.

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“Back-up procedures are all very well, but they are disruptive to learners, so we would rather avoid having to use them.”

She added that Grade 12 pupils had already endured an entire year inside the classroom while the pandemic loomed.

“It is also unfortunately that time of year when protests and strikes become more frequent.

“Earlier this year we saw the devastating effects of a taxi strike on school attendance, and it is my sincere hope that this does not happen again during the exam period.

“I am also conscious of the impending election, and the tendency of these to bring out disruptive behaviour.

“Any action that prevents learners from getting to their exams – and writing them in peace – is unacceptable and adds extra unnecessary stress to what is already a very stressful time.

“So please, politicians, community groups, and commercial organisations, I appeal to you to put the interests of our children first over the next two months.

“This is the first matric class to have spent their entire Grade 12 year in pandemic conditions.

“They have been through enough. We owe it to them to make sure that they have the best possible chance of succeeding in these exams and completing their school career.”

Leader of the Cape Coloured Congress, Fadiel Adams said service delivery was an on-going concern which was as a result of poor governance and that appeals should be made directly to Eskom.

“While we agree with MEC Schäfer, she should have written to the CEO of Eskom, that no load shedding should happen at these times and at certain hours to allow the matrics to write without hindrance.

“We also want to point out to the MEC, that she is part of a government that practically begs for these service deliveries protests, that the ineptitude is the reason why disgruntled, poor people take to the streets.”

Bonteheuwel ward councillor Angus Mckenzie, said they were working closely with high schools in their community to ensure there were no disruptions even during the local government elections period.

He said is also appealing to others in his ward to do the same.

“Elections are an extremely vibrant time in our communities but also very critically is the success of our matriculants to do the best they can do in this upcoming final exams.

“Our focus strongly will be to ensure that our matriculants are given the best opportunities to write in the most comfortable and safe environment.

“And to ensure in writing in the most comfortable environment, they are able to do the best they can, to create a better future for themselves.

“In Bonteheuwel we are working very closely with our high schools and principals to see that we are creating safe environments for our children to travel to and from and school and to ensure that there will be electricity supply and that there will be no issues, other than load shedding and that the environment is a conducive environment to write.

“Our political activities will not interfere with any matriculants writing their exams, we sincerely hope and it is my hope as well, that all other opposition parties in the Bonteheuwel area respect this fact that young people are writing their exams and laying the foundation for the future.”

Western Cape spokesperson, Kyle Cookson said national was mandated to comment on load shedding. Eskom’s national office was reached out to for comment, but did not respond by time of publication.