The Department of Basic Education has scrapped this year’s final exams for Grade 10 and 11 learners – instead replacing them with controlled tests.

In a circular, the department says coronavirus infections, the loss of teaching time and the closure of schools under the hard lockdown period has resulted in the non-completion of the curriculum.

Department spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, says more teaching time will be allocated next year to help learners catch up with the syllabus.

“It’s a once-off measure that we have put in place after we looked at everything that affected schooling this year and we felt it would not be fair to have a full-scale examination when schools were closed and reopened. With the trimmed curriculum we realised that we are not going to finish the syllabus.”

“Grade 10s and 11s learn the same thing, it is just the degree of difficulty of what they are learning. It is basically something that is not really new to them. So what we are going to do is create more time next year to ensure that all the work that was not covered is covered then,” adds Mhlanga.

Meanwhile, the department says it is anticipating an increase in dropout rates due to extended school closures this year.

It made a presentation in Parliament when it raised concerns over thousands of learners who had not yet returned to school especially in KwaZulu-Natal.

The department says around 38 000 Grade 7 learners and 18 000 matriculants in that province could drop out of school.

Department of Basic Education anticipates an increase in dropout rates: Roné McFarlane