Protests prevented 53 Gauteng students from taking exams – Basic Education Department

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The students who did not write their economics homework are from Etwatwa in Ekurhuleni.

  • The Ministry of Basic Education has appealed for calm to allow students to take their exams.
  • According to the ministry, protests against service delivery appear to be the biggest threat.
  • In Gauteng, 53 students failed to sit their exams due to protest actions.

The 2022 matric exams started on a chaotic note which saw 53 pupils miss their economics paper due to protests in which shots were fired, a pregnant pupil banned from writing and a load shedding which resulted in a myriad of problems, including a loss of work.

On Sunday, the Director General of the Department of Basic Education, Mathanzima Mweli, gave an update on the progress of the exams during an urgent technical press briefing.

He said that while the exams were going relatively well, there were serious issues threatening the conduct of the exams.

According to Mweli, protests against service delivery appeared to be the biggest threat to end-of-year exams.

He has since called for fewer protests against service delivery to allow the exams to run smoothly.

“Already on Monday, the exams were passed by all the candidates.

“Fifty-three learners from Gauteng could not write [their] exams simply because of protests against service delivery. [The learners] were involved in an area where there were even shootings,” Mweli added.

READ | Motshekga confident post-Covid matrix exams will go smoothly

“We want to appeal that learners are not prevented from taking exams for any reason.”

The students who did not write their economics homework are from Etwatwa in Ekurhuleni.

The department said while it understood the dissatisfaction of the National Civic Organization SA, the leading broader civil society organization, it would like it to allow students access to the exam centres.

Last week, the Association of Public Servants (PSA) served the state with a notice of intent to strike.

The PSA officially began its first civil service strike in more than a decade, with a “stay away” last Wednesday and a full-scale strike expected to follow on Thursday.

Mweli said the disruption has added to the trauma of students as they have already been through the Covid-19 pandemic, which has also had its own trauma over the past two years, shedding and now being denied the opportunity to spend their exams.

In case the learners are not able to take the exam, it means that they will only rewrite the missed papers in May/June next year. It’s not fair to learners who have already endured a lot due to Covid-19, among other challenges.

The department added that it had also noted that some parents and schools were refusing their children to take exams due to teenage pregnancies and non-payment of school fees.

“It is illegal. Our policies are very clear on these matters. The issue of tuition fees should be dealt with by parents or guardians and no learner should be prevented from taking exams because they do not pay the fees tuition,” said Mweli.

Residents are requested to report any incident of this nature to the department in order to ensure the possibility for students to take their exams.

In Gauteng, 14 computers exploded during a load shedding, destroying the work of 14 Computer Application Technology (CAT) students.

The work of two Northern Cape students also writing CAT was not saved.


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