Lerato Mbhiza

THE first day of the 2023 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams on Monday went well in Gauteng Province and Education MEC Matome Chiloane said that the majority of districts had no issues in facilitating the writing of English Home Language Paper 1 and English First Additional Language Paper 1 on Monday. 

Chiloane said most candidates were present and honoured all rules and regulations as expected. However, a few instances of absenteeism among full-time candidates were noted.

“In Tshwane West, the majority of full-time candidates attended. However, about eight candidates approached officials stating that they were not ready to write, two other candidates did not write and their whereabouts were unknown, which is concerning. Three other candidates were also hospitalised due to health issues, and were unable to write. “

Chiloane said in Ekurhuleni South, most full-time candidates also wrote their exams. However, one candidate was caught with a cellphone in the exam centre while he also noted that a number of candidates were absent in this region.

The MEC re-emphasised the commitments which candidates vowed to fulfil when they signed the NSC pledge and stressed that unwarranted absenteeism was unacceptable. 

“Candidates are discouraged from transgressing their pledge. Candidates must always adhere to exam rules and regulations to maintain the integrity of the examinations and their future.

“All candidates must honour their exams and regulations as outlined in the pledge. Therefore, unwarranted absenteeism is unacceptable”. 

The start of the exams was marred by a suicide where a full-time candidate from Unity Secondary School in Daveyton, Ekurhuleni tragically took her own life by allegedly poisoning herself on Sunday, 29 October 2023, a day before the exams. 

In the light of the tragic incident, Chiloane reminded candidates of the Mental Health pledge they signed, urging them to reach out to the support structures and resources made available in instances where they might be facing internal difficulties during these exams. 

Such structures include Childline, which can be contacted by dialling 116; and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), which is available on all telephonic and online platforms.

“Despite the first day of exams having gone smoothly in Gauteng, we are devastated by the loss of one candidate who took her own life just before her first exam. We wish to convey our sincerest condolences to her family and the school community at large. 

“Learners are urged to use our available structures to express any issues they are facing, our officials are more than happy to help. 

Candidates are also encouraged to honour their commitments to these exams and refrain from being absent,” said Chiloane.

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