Pupils who fail ma­tric to re­write much later

Sup­ple­men­tary ex­ams in March are likely to fall away in 2020

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

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.

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