More than 79,000 Eastern Cape matric pupils are expected to write their trial exams from Monday and the provincial education department says all districts have submitted their readiness plans.
However, the department was not able to provide a clear indication on the readiness of schools.
But department spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said question papers were ready for distribution and that districts and schools had submitted their Covid-19 safety protocol compliance plans.
He said no pupil would be allowed into an exam room without a mask or without undergoing the proper screening procedure. Social distancing had to be observed.
Mtima said the trial exam timetable had been issued and exams would take place from Monday until October 7.
“The districts will be monitoring the writing and forward daily reports to the provincial department,” Mtima said.
Naptosa’s provincial CEO, Loyiso Mbinda, said some schools were “still at a disadvantage”.
He said there were schools with space limitations due to insufficient infrastructure.
“There’s also still no clear commitment to who supplies water to schools which are in need.
“There aren’t enough staff members to conduct the invigilation of these exams as a large number of teachers are at home due to comorbidities.
“Support staff [who] have been employed won’t be eligible to conduct marking once the exams are completed,” Mbinda said.
There were also pupils who had been at home since the beginning of the lockdown due to underlying health conditions.
“What about those learners? The department can’t provide data as to how many of these learners are affected and what the plan will be for them to write their trial exams,” Mbinda said.
For Sakhisizwe High School in Mdantsane, parents and teachers had done “everything in their power” to prepare matrics for Monday, amid a classroom shortage, the school governing body said.
Three classrooms at the school were destroyed by a fire — believed to have caused by pupils smoking behind the wooden structure — in 2019.
The reconstruction of the classrooms has come to a halt.
School governing body member Zoleka Tendana said: “Space continues to be an issue at our school as classrooms are scarce.
The pressure is on for learners to do well as this virus hit before they could get into depth with the curriculum. It has been a difficult time
“But teachers have done everything in their power to make sure that the Grade 12s are ready for their exams amidst the challenges of Covid-19.
“The pressure is on for learners to do well as this virus hit before they could get into depth with the curriculum. It has been a difficult time.
“The matrics will write their exams in the school hall but the learners who usually use the hall for learning will suffer because they will have to adjust,” Tendana said.
She said the school had a high pass rate and was “an attraction to parents and learners in the area”.
“Next year we are guaranteed an influx of pupils wanting to be enrolled at the school and we won’t be able to take learners as there simply is not enough infrastructure,” Tendana said.
By Gugu Phandle – DispatchLIVE