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Strict Covid-19 protocols to apply for matric exam markers; also to be enforced at varsities

The 2021 National Senior Certificate exams marking will be the second matric exams to take place under Covid-19 conditions. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

The 2021 National Senior Certificate exams marking will be the second matric exams to take place under Covid-19 conditions. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Dec 12, 2021

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A total of 3 367 markers began the the task at 11 marking centres across the Western Cape this week, due to end on December 22.

Spokesperson for the provincial minister of education, Kerry Mauchline, said markers were not required to be vaccinated, adding that marking will take place under the same pandemic conditions as it did last year.

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During the marking period last year, 19 markers tested positive (out of approximately 3 340 markers in total), she said.

Mauchline added: “These were isolated cases and it did not result in further spreading. Strict protocols are in place to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations.”

The final results are to be announced by the provincial Minister of Education, Debbie Schäfer, on January 20, next year. Individual results will be made available at schools the next day on Friday, January 21.

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Mauchline couldn’t say how many teachers at schools in the Western Cape had been vaccinated. “We only have records of those teachers vaccinated as part of the basic education sector vaccination drive earlier this year – we do not have records of staff who went on their own to be vaccinated,” she added.

A total of 47 531 teachers were vaccinated as part of the Basic Education vaccination roll-out.

Professor Nuraan Davids, from Stellenbosch University’s department of education and policy, said the pandemic had had a serious effect on all pupils and not only matriculants. “Children have been under tremendous pressure to continue and prepare for exams as if they were in a normalised context.”

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She added: “Children have missed crucial days and times. While some had access to virtual learning, the majority did not.” Davids said it has been an intensely pressurised year for pupils.

“Socio-economic inequalities of our society have played a tremendous role in accessibility to education. The pandemic has highlighted that South Africa is deeply disparate. “

As universities prepare for the intake of first-year students, vaccine mandates have become policy for some while others are still making a final decision on the matter.

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On Thursday, UCT announced their in-principle decision on vaccinations for next year where all staff and students must provide proof that they have been vaccinated, to perform their duties or to be registered.

UCT spokesperson, Elijah Moholola, said a draft vaccination institutional rule or policy will be put out for public consultation in the next few weeks.

“Council requested the university executive to establish an appropriately constituted panel to develop the operational details to implement that in-principle decision, including guidelines for exemption from the vaccination requirement.”

He added: “A final decision will be made by the council on the in-principle decision and, if necessary, the content of the vaccination rule or policy.”

Stellenbosch University issued a statement on November 30, saying that they plan on publishing a vaccine rule. “This will require students and staff to provide proof of vaccination as a condition to register or to remain registered as a student, and to govern the employment of staff members,” said rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Wim de Villiers.

At UWC, proof of vaccination is required for registration, depending on the faculty, said Gasant Abarder, communications spokesperson for UWC.

“In certain faculties or programmes, for example, the faculty of dentistry, and programmes such as nursing and pharmacy, students will need to be vaccinated to register,” he said.

He added: “In other faculties, students who are not vaccinated will be permitted to register for their relevant degree or module but may not enter the campus or attend university events. Flexible online learning and teaching will continue in most faculties for 2022.”

Abarder said a provision would be made for unvaccinated students to continue learning online.

CPUT media spokesperson Lauren Kansley said they hadn’t decided on a mandatory vaccine policy yet.

“The issue is being discussed in consultative multi-stakeholder meetings. We await the outcome of the consultation processes before executive management finalises this critical matter,” the university said in a statement.

Related Topics:

UniversitiesCovid-19

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