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Matric EXAMS: KZN schools ready for large pool of candidates

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Oct 22, 2021

Schools in KwaZulu-Natal are ready for leaners to start writing the matric exams next week MEC for Education Lwazi Mshengu announced at a media briefing on Friday.

Mshengu said 2020 and 2021 had been challenging years for learners and teachers due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the civil unrest in mid-July but schools were now ready for the exams.

“The closure of schools, alternating of classes and all other challenges that came as a result of Covid 19, meant that as a department we need to do things differently and pull out all stops to ensure that the Class of 2021 had a fighting chance in life,” Mshengu said.

 “As if the difficulties visited on us by Covid 19 were not enough, the civil unrest that we experienced as a country also did not help the situations, but despite all that, we are here today to report…that the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education is ready for the 2021 National Senior Certificate examinations,” Mshengu said.

He said that in January 2021 the department had finalised and started to implement the Academic Improvement Plan focusing on all grades, including matric. He said the department had then implemented a 12 point plan designed to target areas which are critical for improvement of matric performance.

The12 point plan focused on:

• Improvement of performance in strategic big subjects 

• Improvement of performance of leaners at risk (including progressed learners) 

• Familiarising learners with changes in content and question paper format 

• Addressing learning losses and shortage of contact time 

• Additional access to learning through e-learning opportunities 

• Improvement of performance in 80%+ districts 

• Improvement of performance I the 70%+ districts 

• Strengthening the capacity of circuit management to support schools 

• Exposing learners to examination skills 

• Increase the number of 100% schools and 

• Pyscho-Social biased learner motivation activities for the Class of 2021 

• Creating examination Buzz 

“Because of the manner in which this 12 point plan was implemented throughout the province, we are confident that our learners are ready as they are going to sit for this end of the year examination,” he said.

The KwaZulu-Natal education department is the biggest education department in the country.  A total of 201 107 full-time and part-time candidates, the largest pool in six years, is expected to sit he 2021 matric exams.

This includes 178 262 full time candidates, 22845 part time candidates, 1702 full time writing centres and 75 part time writing centres. The province has 6704 examination rooms, 6022 invigilators, 13 nodal points and 102 distributions points. 

“All our invigilators and monitors were given a training manual which focuses on management of examination during the Covid 19 Pandemic and the conduct and management of a credible examination in schools and districts. They were taken through the Standard Operating Procedure as applied during Covid 19,” Mshengu said.

He said training had also focused on the prevention of malpractices, loss of answer scripts and accountability for question papers.

Management of matric exams risks

“As a province we have put in place a comprehensive plan to manage all kinds of risks that are related to the management of examinations. 

Our plan looks at measures to prevent a compromise of the printing job in case of load shedding, looks at our working relationship with the Joints Operations Committee (JOCOM), the delivery of examination material during days inclement weather and a possible escalation of exams malpractices,” Mshengu said.

“We are serious about conducting examinations that are without irregularities,” he said.

He urged the public to report any suspected irregularities during the examinations to the following WhatsApp number: 069 335 2818. 

“We can assure you that the information provided in this regard will be handled with confidentiality,” he said.

Signing the matric exams pledge

He added that learners had signed a pledge committing themselves not to  participate in activities that will compromise the integrity of the 2021 NSC matric exams. 

“As learners were signing the pledge here at Lamontville High School, similar activities were taking place, not only in KwaZulu-Natal, but throughout the country. This shows the extent to which we are serious about conducting examinations that are free from irregularities,” he said.

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