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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Gauteng Education promises generators to stop load shedding from disrupting matric exams

Nearly 200 000 matriculants will sit for NSC examinations in the province.


The Gauteng Department of Education says it is prepared in the event of a power-supply disruption during this year’s National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams.

A total of 194 611 full-time and part-time matric pupils will write their final exams between 31 October and 7 December across 1 018 examination centres in the province.  

But with the country currently experiencing constant blackouts due to load shedding, the provincial department has promised to provide an alternative electricity supply.

‘Back-up power’

Speaking during a media briefing in Etwatwa – Ekurhuleni, on Monday, Education MEC Matome Chiloane revealed that the department has already communicated with Eskom about its concerns.

“As the department, we have already engaged with Eskom [and] City Power in Johannesburg to request them that schools in certain areas have no downtime in case of load shedding,” he said.

Chiloane also indicated that the department has conducted an audit of computer applications technology (CAT) and information technology (IT) laboratories.

ALSO READ: Umalusi worried about load shedding but DBE trusts ‘daytime light’ to save exams

“One of the areas of focus for the audit was whether the centres have a generator to serve as a backup in the event of an electricity supply cut. Eskom and City Power have been informed of the dates on which CAT and IT practical exams are being written to minimise power cuts on those dates,” he continued.

Exam centres without generators, the MEC added, will procure or rent generators to avoid disruptions.

“We have already done preparations because we know not all schools offer this subject… We are talking about 38 centres in township schools.”

The department has further leased generators to ensure back-up power is available for marking and capturing results.

The marking of scripts will take place between 9 and 22 December across 19 centres in the province.

Paper leaks

Meanwhile, Chiloane assured the public that there would be no transgressions or leaks relating to question papers.

According to the MEC, the centres, printing and storage points have been audited to ensure the integrity of the exams is protected.

“We can confidently say this year there will be no leakage. I can assure you of that part. We have appointed service providers to assist to augment our security at districts, and we have armed escorts that will be guiding our exam papers.

READ MORE: Umalusi wants ‘incident-free’ matric exams after 2020 leaks

“We’ve got response teams and we’ve also set up surveillance (CCTV cameras) in all our venues to ensure that everything is tight,” the MEC said.  

In 2020, Mathematics paper 2 and Physical Sciences paper 2 were leaked to pupils hours before being written.

While the Government Printing Works (GPW) was identified as the source of the leak, a 31-year-old man was arrested in connection with the matter.

Themba Daniel Shikwambana was released on R1 000 bail in December 2020. 

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