Citizen reporter
3 minute read
5 Nov 2020
9:10 am

VIDEO: Marred by Covid-19 fears, matric class of 2020 start final exams 

Citizen reporter

The Covid-19 pandemic threatened to derail the academic year, with pupils spending the better part of 2020 in a state of uncertainty. 

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

On a rainy Thursday morning at 9am, hundreds of thousands of matric learners will sit down to write their first National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam. 

Thursday’s exams are English, both first and second additional language, paper one. 

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited the Sekano-Ntoane Secondary School in Soweto to wish them luck. 

“To the matric class of 2020, yes, the exams are here. You are writing under unusual circumstances, due to Covid-19. But all has been done to ensure safety in the exam centre. Remain focused, I know you can make it, revise, and just be ready for your exams,” Motshekga said in a message to this year’s matric pupils. 

The Covid-19 pandemic threatened to derail the academic year, with pupils spending the better part of 2020 in a state of uncertainty. 

The Basic Education Department was only able to publish the amended school calendar for 2020 on 11 August, after the country underwent a hard lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. 

Schools were routinely closed as infections spiked, with lessons interrupted, making pupils spend long spells at home. 

The department, together with the Department of Health, agreed on Wednesday night that any learners who test positive for Covid-19 would still be able to write their final matric exams. 

It was previously said that learners would have Covid-19 would not be allowed to enter the exam area. But after parents and learners requested that the protocols be reviewed, a few adjustments were made. 

Candidates who test positive and are deemed fit to write their exams will be allowed to write, but must do so at a different venue and under secure conditions in compliance with exam regulations. 

In addition, learners who test higher than 38°C will still be allowed to write exams, but will do so in an isolated venue at the school. They will also be separated from other learners, and taken to a healthcare centre for further medical attention. 

Twitter was abound with well wishes, as well as some comic relief from users urging learners not to use their masks as cheat sheets. 

Compiled by Nica Richards

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