News | South Africa | Education
The basic education department’s moderator for history, Dr Gants Pillay, who was instrumental in preparations
for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam script marking plan, left home to chair a meeting with unions but was not to return.
“Pillay was last seen chairing the memo discussion and was admitted in Pretoria [with Covid-19 complications]. He could not even go home and has since passed on,” Bheki Ngubane, the Gauteng department’s head of examinations,
said on Monday.
He said they had also learnt of the death from Covid-19 on Monday of an internal moderator for Sesotho, Benedict Mohape, and the death of a head of department.
Ngubane said they were heartbroken that the people who had succumbed to the virus were involved in the planning process for marking the 14 million NSC scripts.
“Two of them [Pillay and Mohape] were involved in memo discussions as well as standardising it but on the verge of starting the marking. they succumbed to the pandemic.”
The Covid-19 virus has stalked NSC marking centres, with 238 markers contracting the virus across the country and 2,703 withdrawing their services due to ill-health or fear of contracting the virus.
On Saturday, a script marker from KwaZulu-Natal died after being rushed to hospital from a marking centre in Escourt in the Midlands.
The provincial education department said nine markers who had close contact with the deceased had been isolated in a guesthouse.
Unions have queried the safety of their members at marking centres with the Educators Union of South Africa’s general secretary.
Siphiwe Mpungose, saying the safety of markers could not be compromised.
Speaking to the SABC, he said: “We are calling for the suspension of the marking until all safety protocols are adhered to.”
Priscilla Ogunbanjo, director of national examinations, said 94% of the 46 024 markers expected for the current session reported for marking, with 0.5% testing positive on arrival or after commencement of marking.
According to department of basic education director-general Mathanzima Mweli, there was social distancing in the marking rooms.
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