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By Chulumanco Mahamba

Digital Night Supervisor

Umalusi concerned about load shedding, cheating and protests ahead of matric exams

Umalusi highlights load shedding and cheating as potential threats to South Africa's matric exams.

With about 16 days left before the final matric examinations begin, Umalusi has raised concerns about load shedding, cheating, and community protests.

The education quality assurance body said that the systems used by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) are ready to administer and manage the final examinations.

“I can report to the South African public that, by and large, our system is ready to administer the 2023 final examinations,” said Umalusi CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi during a media briefing on Friday.

“Umalusi will be examining the conduct of the examinations to ensure full compliance with all relevant regulations.”

Load shedding 

Umalusi, however, raised concerns about rolling blackouts, cheating, and protest action during the exams.

In light of rolling blackouts, which have become part of everyday life, Rakometsi advised all assessment bodies to make alternative arrangements for power supply to mitigate the possibility of load shedding.

“The DBE has spoken to Eskom, and with Eskom facing the challenges we all know, they’ve tried to look at the subjects that need electricity and have given them the plan; however, nobody is in control of the situation to the point where they can give guarantees,” the CEO said.

“The department has procured generators for the duration of the examination. In some instances, some schools have generators, and in others, the schools have rented generators.”

Rakometsi said that is plan B should the Eskom systems fail.

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The body further issued a stern warning to all learners and teachers to refrain from all forms of cheating. Forms of cheating include group copying, where teachers are sometimes implicated.

“We berate and condemn this criminal practice with the contempt it deserves. Cheating compromises the integrity of our national examination system, which we are mandated to protect as a quality council,” Rakometsi said.

Umalusi warned community members against using the final examination as leverage for their protest.

“This is unacceptable, as it jeopardises the future of our children. The education of our children is something that each and every South African should protect jealously,” the CEO said.

Candidates need support 

Umalusi revealed that about 921,000 candidates will be writing the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations, and 15 211 candidates will be sitting to write the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) examinations.

“Under normal circumstances, the prospect of writing final examinations, arguably the most important examinations in a person’s life, can cause anxiety among candidates,” the CEO said.

“We therefore wish to appeal to parents, guardians, and other key stakeholders to provide the necessary support to all the candidates in this important time of their lives.”

ALSO READ: Umalusi concerned over cheating during NSC exams, but approves 2022 matric results

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