AS MORE than 1 million matriculants prepare to write their final exams, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) has called on the Department of Basic Education to push back the start of the exams from 5 November to November 25 in order to give learners more time to prepare.
The decision was taken at SADTU’s national executive committee meeting at the weekend.
Grade 12 pupils will begin writing their finals on the 9th of November after DBE adjusted the school calendar to cover as much ground as possible that was lost during the lockdown.
“The NEC noted that many learners would not be in a position to fully prepare for the NSC examinations, especially from disadvantaged communities because of the intermittent closing and opening of schools due to COVID 19 and the levels of support that differed from school to school based on the availability of infrastructure and resources,” SADTU said in a statement.
“The NEC reiterated the union’s call for the DBE to trim, reorganise and reset the examination papers for the 2020 examinations. The NEC meeting also resolved to urge the DBE to delay the start of examinations from 5 November to 26 November to allow learners more time to prepare for the examinations.”
The NEC noted that the combination of the June and November examinations was bound to affect the marking process, adding that this would require additional markers with an extended period of marking to ensure quality and reliability.
DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the department has been facing a shortage of markers even before COVID-19 pandemic and it was now using this time to get the situation under control.
“It is being address through training and skilling of teachers who have the potential to be appointed as markers,” he said.
The Congress of South African Students said it supported SADTU’s decision to push back the matric exams to later in November in order to allow learners time to prepare adequately.
COSAS also said it wanted the contents of this year’s matric exams to be trimmed by as much as 50%.
The student’s movement said it had written to the Minister Angie Motshekga asking that the matric exam papers must take into account the amount of time pupils were exposed to the curriculum.
This year was an abnormal academic year and there must be some changes when it comes to the way learners are assessed, it said.
“We are adjusting to the fact that they will write 100% of the paper but that should be done next year. That is why we – as COSAS – say they should write 50% of the paper this year because it wouldn’t be fair for them to write their matric exams now at 100% after they have been home for so long. If DBE says they will write their paper next year, they will be given a fair chance to prepare themselves,” said COSAS regional convenor, Mthokozisi Sweli.
(COMPILED BY INSIDE EDUCATION STAFF)