The Class of 2021 is eagerly awaiting the announcement of the National Senior Certificate examination results. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to release the results on Thursday.
The 2021 academic year was not without its challenges. The beginning of the academic was delayed by two weeks from 27 January to 15 February as the country battled the second wave of the pandemic.
The department insisted that saving lives remained a top priority.
It said that the delay was also to relieve the Department of Health which was struggling with the high demand of services:
The pandemic continued to wreak havoc with schools recording a loss in teaching and learning time with the infection rate among teachers and learners soaring. As winter approached there was growing concern over the effect of the predicted third wave.
Gauteng and Western experienced high numbers of infections. There were growing calls from different stakeholders for the closure of schools.
In June, the Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema did not mince his words, demanding a shutdown of schools after the country recorded more than 9 000 new coronavirus cases in a day.
“Schools must close and they must close with immediate effect because our children are going to die. We give the Minister seven days to close schools, failure to do so, we will have to close schools ourselves as the EFF.”
EFF raises concerns about coronavirus infections in the country:
The government heeded the calls with schools closing early for the winter holidays. “The closure of schools and other educational institutions for the winter holidays will be brought forward. Schools will close from this Wednesday, the 30th of June, and all the schools will be expected to be closed by the end of the week, on Friday,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa, addressing the nation.
As the opening of schools was further delayed, some experts questioned whether the government’s decisions were based on science or political pressure.
“The President’s speech was inevitably a political speech whereby we all know that a number of unions in the education sector were pushing the ministry of education to close down the schools and the politicians have agreed to that decision, so it is a political decision based on the numbers of people demanding that it must happen,” said Political Analyst Sandile Swana.
Swana argued that science was ignored:
Learners studied in the dark as Eskom implemented load shedding.
The results will for the first time in years not be published on public platforms in adherence to the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) which prohibits the dissemination of pupils’ personal information.