The department of basic education has assured matric pupils that rewrites will be available to those whose exams are affected by load-shedding.
Matric pupils are expected to sit their final examinations from next week.
Exams may be interrupted by power cuts as embattled power utility Eskom struggles to keep the lights on during a period of reduced generation capacity.
State of readiness
The department said in establishing the state of readiness for the examinations it has considered the effects of load-shedding on the different phases of the examination cycle.
It said contingency plans are in place to address the effects of load-shedding on critical processes. There has been communication between Eskom and the department to avoid load-shedding on certain critical days when electricity must be available‚ said the department.
Subjects that are dependent on electricity for exams include computer applications technology (CAT)‚ information technology and South African sign language (SASL).
“In addition‚ the heads of provincial examination units will be liaising with the provincial co-ordinators of Eskom to manage load-shedding. In addition‚ during the important processes of marking and mark capture‚ the sites at which these take place will have generators installed as backup.”
Rewrites for CAT and IT student
Students who write CAT and IT exams and fall victim to load-shedding will have another opportunity to complete the exam in December.
“In the unlikely event that load-shedding affects the writing of CAT and IT‚ the department of basic education has a rewrite paper which is scheduled for December 7. Rewrite for CAT and IT is planned for every examination‚ given the computer glitches that could cause candidates not to complete their examinations‚” said the department.
The department said the security of question papers is not threatened by load-shedding.
“Provincial education departments factored this into their plans and all question papers are secure. Printing‚ packing and distribution will be completed on time‚” it said.
‘Pupils are not an exception’
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga last week expressed confidence the matric exams will proceed without any problems caused by blackouts.
Speaking to the media Motshekga said very few exams will require electricity‚ and classrooms will have enough light.
“What is helpful is that the load-shedding schedules are there. You know when you are going to have power so you work around it.
“When there is marking‚ we might bring in generators. I am able to speak with the energy minister [Gwede Mantashe] and see if we can mitigate against any adverse conditions. I am confident”‚ she said
Motshekga said matric pupils were not an exception‚ reiterating they will have to cope with load-shedding like everyone else.
“You work around it the same way business does. You monitor load-shedding timetables and work around it‚” Motshekga said.
Source: ARENA Holdings.