The Department of Basic Education has scrapped mid-year exams for matric pupils.
This was announced by Minister Angie Motshekga during a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education.
Motshekga said the move is to allow Grade 12 pupils more time to cover the curriculum.
“We want to make up for the loss of time and for them to cover the curriculum. They did not go on holiday in March and most of the schools are giving extra classes.
“The June period of exams will be used to cover the curriculum. We also have a team monitoring Covid-19 infections on a daily basis,” Motshekga said.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke said learners have lost a lot of learning time due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown which has put restrictions on how many can attend class at a time.
“Last year’s grade 11 pupils were hit hard by losing so much of the school year in 2020.
“Grade 11, in terms of the phased opening of schools, after those first couple of months in the first term, they didn’t return to school in 2020 until July,” he said.
Adding that the grade 12 class of 2021 was in a much more difficult situation than last year’s class.
Maluleke said grade 12 teachers had to work backward to help their learners catch up with the grade 11 syllabus. “There is a serious backlog and the situation is very serious,” he added.
The minister said regarding the grade 12 class of 2021, the education authorities will try to keep these learners in school for as long as possible, in order to try to cover the gaps.
“They are grade 11s of 2020 and already the whole curriculum was not covered. They lost close to 60% of school time over the period,” said Motshekga.
Committee chair Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba said all public-school learners lost 54% of teaching time.
She said the committee noted the loss in learning hours that has already occurred in the 2021 school year, due to the academic year starting later.
“The majority of learners not attending five days of schooling per week as they were using a rotational system.
“This together with the loss of learning hours in 2020, does not bode well for our education system. We know and understand that it is not a South African phenomenon but a world-wide challenge, however we remain concerned,” Mbinqo-Gigaba emphasised.
She said this was quite a lot and it would not be easy to recover.