News / South Africa / Education

Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
4 minute read
24 Oct 2021
12:45 pm

Gauteng education dept says it’s ready for matric exams

Narissa Subramoney

Matric pupils will write their first papers this Wednesday, 27 October, and complete their last examinations on 6 December.

The class of 2021 now has the highest number of enrolments for the National Senior Certificate. Picture for illustration: citizen.co.za/Nigel Sibanda

It’s just three more nights of sleep before the country’s matric pupils sit down to take the most important and final examinations of their school careers.

They will write their first papers this Wednesday, 27 October, and complete their last examinations on 6 December.

Gauteng has more than 175,000 pupils registered to take their final exams, an almost 18% increase from last year’s 149,385 matriculants.

The class of 2021 now has the highest number of enrolments for the National Senior Certificate (NSC).

Of the 175,599 candidates, at least 132,887 are full-time pupils, and 42,712 are part-time candidates. Part-time pupils are those who have one or more outstanding subjects to qualify for the NSC qualification.

There are 1,987 special needs pupils among the 175,599.

GDE ready for final exams.

Examination centres and monitoring

There are 1,004 examination centres accredited to host the exams.

The consist of the following:

  • 652 public school exam halls,
  • 244 independent school exam centres,
  • 97 adult basic education training centres,
  • eight prisons examination halls, and
  • three designated provincial exam centres.

An extensive network of monitors across the province have been officially appointed and trained as chief invigilators and monitors.

“The invigilators and monitors are sourced from our Head Office, Districts and other education stakeholders, to ensure that the processes relating to conduct, administration and management of the NSC examination is fair, credible and run with integrity,” said Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

GDE is ready for final exams.

Lesufi said the department had put security measures in place to manage the distribution and collection of question papers and answer sheets.

“These arrangements will be facilitated daily to ensure there are no leaks of question papers and to maintain the integrity of the final exams,” he said.

Printing of question papers and marking processes

Gauteng has the second-largest examination process nationally, after KwaZulu-Natal.

Some 2.1 million question papers have been printed.

“We have ensured that we increase security arrangements around the printing of question papers as a means of mitigating human error and other vulnerabilities,” explained Lesufi.

30 marking venues have been prepared to grade examination scripts, and 12,889 markers have been hired to mark the final papers.

More than 2,500 examination assistants will oversee the marking process as a form of quality assurance, to ensure that final marks are correctly tallied before pupils receive their results.

“The first marking session will take place on 15 November 2021 and the second marking session on 7 December 2021.

“We expect the marking process to be completed by 23 December 2021,” said Lesufi.

Exams in the time of Covid

The department said that majority of Gauteng teachers had received their Covid-19 vaccinations, and since opening the vaccine to pupils 12-years and older, many matriculants have also received their jabs.

“We encourage all those who are eligible to use this opportunity and vaccinate as part of the drive to manage and mitigate the impact of Covid-19,” said Lesufi.

The department said examination centres “will not be super-spreader events.”

The follow protocols will be put in place to ensure this:

  • A maximum of 30 candidates per room with one-metre distancing,
  • Masks must be worn all the times,
  • Each exam centre has isolation rooms for sick candidates,
  • Candidates who test positive for Covid-19 will not be allowed to write their papers in the same hall as other candidates,
  • Hand sanitisers and surface cleaners have been provided for all rooms,
  • There are sanitising stations and temperature scanning at entry points of every exam venue,
  • All candidates, monitors, and invigilators will have to fill out control sheets,
  • Invigilators who present with coronavirus-related symptoms will be released to seek medical attention,
  • Invigilators will only be allowed to return after producing a doctor’s letter or Covid-19 negative results, and
  • Candidates who are confirmed positive will be quarantined.

Cheating is a criminal offence

Lesufi has warned pupils against any form of cheating.

His warning comes after last year’s Physical Sciences and Mathematics paper two were leaked from the government’s own printers.

Evidence showed 236 mathematics and 62 physical sciences pupils were sent screenshots before the paper two examinations.

“Cheating and other exam irregularities may result in a criminal record. Tears and sweat taste the same but will get you different results. Tears will get you sympathy and sweat will get you change,” said Lesufi

Integrity pledge

All pupils and their parents have committed to uphold the examination integrity by signing an NSC code of conduct.

The Commitment Agreement binds the department, candidates and their parents to abide by all the rules and regulations that govern, conduct and administer the exams.

“We would like to wish all our Grade 12 learners the best of luck, and assure them that they have our full support. Pupils are urged to conduct themselves with honesty during the exam,” Lesufi concluded.