Pupils who fail matric to rewrite much later
Supplementary exams in March are likely to fall away in 2020
SOUTH Africa could be without supplementary matric exams in the next three years if the Department of Basic Education implements its plan to phase out the March exams.
The department will appear before the portfolio committee on basic education tomorrow to discuss its plans to do away with the March supplementary exams and merge them with the June exams.
This followed the agreement between the departments of Higher Education and Basic Education in 2014 to merge the supplementary exams with the June exams.
The Department of Basic Education says it is keen to implement the new system in 2020.
Chairperson of the portfolio committee on basic education Nomalungelo Gina said the question of having three matric exams in the country was not practical.
She said those who write their supplementary exams in March were disadvantaged over those who sit for their exams in June or November.
Those who write their exams in March had only a month to prepare for these after the release of the results in January, she added.
It was unfair to them, and the department supported the merger of the March exams with the June exams for matric pupils.
Gina said that if a learner wrote exams in June, he or she had a few months to study and prepare.
The Department of Basic Education has also found that out of 124 000 learners who registered for supplementary exams in 2016/17, only about 76 000 pupils showed up to write their exams.
In addition, there were only a few who did well and got good results.
The department believed that the merging of the exams would improve the situation, she added.
The other concern that the department has was that pupils who write their supplementary exams in March do not have access to higher education institutions in the same year.
This was a matter that required some attention, and the merger would resolve the problem.
The Department of Basic Education has said that the scrapping of the March supplementary exams would save it money and other resources.
Instead of three exams in a year, the department would have two – in June and November – which would be more cost-effective, Gina pointed out.