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Class of 2020 Ready For Exams, Says Western Cape Education MEC

NYAKALLO TEFU

WESTERN Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer says preparations are complete and it’s all systems go for the final Grade 12 exams in her province.

Schafer was speaking to Inside Education on her province’s state of readiness for the 2020 matric exams, starting in the first week of November.

“From June, when learners returned to school, Grade 12s have had the most classes since then and have been in class every day,” said Schafer.

Schafer said her department has made available additional resources to matric learners to ensure that they are ready to write.

“Matrics have received an examination support booklet, which provides advice on the exams and bursary options,” added Schafer.

The province has maintained an 80% pass rate for the past 2 years.

The MEC says she is confident that matriculants this year will do well, despite disruptions by COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am hopeful and obviously it has been a very difficult year but we will see,” said Schafer.

Keeping learners at school during the pandemic has proven to be difficult for the Department of Basic Education after Minister Angie Motshekga announced that learners have been dropping out in the past few months.

“At this point we would like to keep as many learners as possible at school so they do not drop out,” said Schafer.

However, the MEC says learners have been told that they cannot miss an exam no matter what the circumstances are, as they will not get an opportunity to rewrite this year.

“Any learner who misses an exam will have to rewrite it next year in May or June which means it will delay them in terms of higher education,” said Schafer.

Meanwhile, Schäfer has called on COSATU and its partners to denounce defunding of education by the national government.

“I note COSATU’s announcement that they will be holding a press conference regarding the challenges facing the WCED.  I am pleased that COSATU and its associated organisations understand that there are challenges facing us.  The most profound of these challenges – and indeed the one that underpins almost all others – is the continuous defunding of education in the Western Cape by the national government,” said Schafer.

“Once again, severe budget cuts threaten to wipe out many of our projects and programmes. A third of our infrastructure budget this year has been wiped out as a result of cuts to the Education Infrastructure Grant and expenditure on Covid-19 compliance measures, for which we have received no compensation from National Treasury.  The cuts being demanded by the National Treasury for the next three years are nothing short of devastating.”

(COMPILED BY INSIDE EDUCATION STAFF)

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