Minister Angie Motshekga has announced that grade 12 learners will not be writing mid-year exams this year. The Minister’s announcement has not been without criticism.
Education expert, Professor Brahm Fischer said the Minister’s department reached this decision after considering how Covid-19 affected learners in 2020.
Many of the learners in this year's matric class were in grade 11 in 2020. These learners faced disruptions caused by Covid-19, resulting in schools not being able to cover the full curriculum content.
"I think that the department was really concerned that many children haven't had the opportunity to complete the materials that were required for the end of year exams," Fischer said.
There have been mixed reactions to the department’s decision, with some voting in favour of the department’s decision while others fear learners are losing out on the exam experience.
“There are critics that suggest that the exams are an important opportunity for children to become familiar with the experience of writing exams. But I think for teachers and for learners, the additional 3 weeks or more of learning could actually be a substantial gain for them when they actually finally do write the matric exams.”
The National Professional Teacher’s Organisation (Naptosa) has welcomed the department’s decision. The Organisation’s Executive Director, Basil Manuel said this decision will help learners cover enough content for them to write their final exams.
“At the moment, we are estimating that they have done about three months of the year’s work and not the six months, which they ought to have done. We are saying it is more important to push to cover more of the curriculum so that every child gets into the final exam on an even footing where they have completed the year’s work,” Manuel said.