Basic education minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: GCIS.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: GCIS.

The countdown has begun for more than one-million candidates to begin their matric exams on November 5 with all hygiene protocols observed.

Also sitting with the grade 12 learners of 2020 will be those from 2019 who will be rewriting the exams and were supposed to have done so in June. This will make the 2020 matric exam the largest ever.

The exams should have begun in October but have been postponed to November to allow for more of the curriculum to be covered, basic education minister Angie Motshekga said at a media briefing on Thursday.

She said that the exams would continue until December 15 with results being announced in 2021. Schools will reopen on January 25 with some of the 2020 curriculum being carried over to 20201.

Exam centres will ensure that Covid-19 health protocols are implemented.

Motshekga said the school calendar for 2021 would be published in the government gazette on Friday.

Schools were disrupted by the Covid-19 lockdown, which began at the end of March, and have only been operating for four months on a rotational or platooning basis, with the result that on some days some learners are not at school.

Matric learners returned to school in the first week of June and have been participating in intense extra lessons — including on Saturdays and Sundays and with extended hours on normal school days — to catch up the teaching time lost during the lockdown.

Motshekga said a directive would be published soon on the non-contact sports and training that would be allowed to resume.

With the move to level 1 on September 21, the special dispensation granted to teachers with co-morbidities expired and all teachers have now returned to work unless they are on leave of some sort.

Motshekga noted that there had been a significant decline in the number of Covid-19 cases both countrywide and in schools, and hardly any schools had had to close down and reopen because of infections.

She noted, however, that attendance averaged between 80% and 90%, which meant that a good number of pupils had not returned to school. Attendance registers were being closely monitored.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za

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