The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department has set aside over R300 million for the marking of matric examination papers in 2018. More than 9 000 teachers will start marking scripts next week at more than 27 marking centres throughout the province.

Examination stress levels have eased off among matriculants with the writing of the final official paper on Wednesday. The pressure now is on the Education Department as marking is about to commence.

The province achieved a 72.8% matric pass rate in 2017, a significant improvement from the previous pass rate of 66% in 2016.

Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane says they are aiming for an 80% pass rate.

“We are very happy as the Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal with the school examinations that we have been conducting in the province. We are very excited. Our excitement mostly comes from the fact that we know there has been again, this year, an incident-free examination. Where we’ve conducted our examinations where we had no incidents or disturbances. We are very excited that our examinations have been successful. We do believe that once again, in this province, we are going to improve,” says Dlungwane

Dlungwane says more than 9 000 teachers will mark scripts at over 27 centres in the province.

“We are also going to be spending over R300 million over this period, for the marking and the payments and everything else that has to do with the marking. Because our system is so huge. We are managing such a big thing. That investment we are making, but we believe it is worth investing in this system because we are investing in our future,” explains Dlungwane.

Unions are satisfied with the budget set aside for marking scripts, but they say are still concerned about the payment delays in the previous years.

South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu)’s Nomarashiya Caluza says they want government to be mindful of labour rights during the marking process.

“When it comes to the payment, we all know that the issue of the tariff is decided at a national level. So, for the province, what remains important is for it to ensure that it pays timeously because we do not want a situation where it’s time for teachers to be paid, but the department is playing hide and seek,” says Caluza

Marking is set to start on the 3rd of December and matric results will be released on the 3rd and 4th January 2019.