170 teachers, who were due to mark matric examination papers, have tested positive for the coronavirus.

However, Basic Education Director-General Mathanzima Mweli says this will not delay the marking process as provinces have been able to find replacement teachers.

Over 1 600 teachers, mostly in Gauteng, have pulled out of the marking process for various reasons, including the fear of contracting the virus.

Gauteng Education department beefs up matric exam markers:

Mweli says provinces are ready to ensure that the marking deadline is met.

“The possibility of the impact of this was discussed as early as March. Provinces made provisions for it; they made sure their reserve list caters for much more numbers than ordinarily and it has shown so far that there is no crisis at all in getting markers replaced.”

Teachers begin marking papers amidst fears of COVID infections:

Effect on school year 

The second wave of COVID-19 infections hasn’t only affected the marking of matric exam papers but has also raised fears that the new school year will also be impacted on.

According to the Basic Education Department, over 1 600 teachers have died of COVID-19.

The Eastern Cape province has already flagged the prompt replacement of these educators as a concern.

DBE concerned about the shortage of teachers due to pandemic:

Teacher unions have also raised the grief the deaths are causing teachers and learners.

Naptosa’s Basil Manuel says it seems like the provincial education departments have the marking process under control, but they’re still uneasy.

“If there are more withdrawals for whatever reason, it will become more difficult to find replacement markers because now your substitute list will be exhausted and you can’t just grab anyone off the streets that hasn’t met the criteria. So in that respect, our concerns remain. But if everything goes smoothly from this point, then finishing marking would not be a problem.”

Over 46 000 teachers are currently marking matric exam papers at 177 marking centres throughout the country.

The Basic Education Department says they’ll continue to monitor the centres to ensure that they stay on track to release the 2020 matric results in February.