Loadsheddi­ng, protests conspire against matric exams

Department keeps close watch

- By Noxolo Sibiya

Loadsheddi­ng, service delivery protests and natural disasters have disturbed the National Senior Certificat­e final exams since they started three weeks ago.

Department of basic education chief director for exams Dr Rufus Poliah said 119 writing centres were affected by loadsheddi­ng, leading to 3,956 learners being affected.

“In Gauteng 14 learners’ computers blew out during a computer applicatio­n technology exam as a result of the power surge caused by loadsheddi­ng, leading to their work being destroyed. The 14 learners will be given an opportunit­y to rewrite.

“Being affected doesn’t mean that the learners did not write, it means they either started early before loadsheddi­ng or started late after loadsheddi­ng,” Poliah said at a media briefing in Pretoria on Sunday.

He said seven centres in the Eastern Cape started their exams early, while two started late.

said service delivery protests affected various areas in the country, with 53 pupils at Phandu’mfundo Secondary School in Etwatwa, on the East Rand, being prevented from writing their economics exam on Tuesday.

He said 459 pupils had started late for their exams due to protests in the Ngaka Moridi Molema district in North West after 13 centres were disrupted.

Flooding at a North West informal settlement led to delays, prompting the department to be hyper alert during this rainy season.

“We are in constant commu nication with the SA Weather Service to monitor the weather. We have also called on parents in some areas to find their children alternativ­e accommodat­ion nearer to the exam centres so they don’t get trapped in case of a flooding that may prevent them from getting to the centre.”

He said a pregnant pupil at a Western Cape school was prevented from writing her English exam on Monday.

Another pupil from a private school in Gauteng was kept from writing his exam because of outstandin­g school fees, a human rights violation which director-general MathPoliah anzima Mweli said should not go unpunished.

“Our policy is quite clear, no learner can be prohibited from writing exams because they are pregnant or school fees is owed to the school. School fees is between the school and the parents. This cannot be happening in this day and age,” he said.

“Appropriat­e disciplina­ry measures will be taken against the principals. I won’t say what those are, but there will be measures taken.”

Mweli said both pupils would be given an opportunit­y to write their exams.

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