Teachers, learners and officials take the 2021 Senior Certificate Pledge

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KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu says 2021 was a tough year for the province’s Grade 12 learners due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and July’s civil unrest.

Teachers, learners and officials committed themselves to a fair final examination period in a symbolic gesture as they took the 2021 Senior Certificate Pledge at Lamontville High School in Durban.

The province has the highest number of Grade 12 learners in the country.

The country’s matric learners start their 2021 national senior certificate exams on October 27th.

Following a tumultuous 2020, this year proved equally challenging. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and July unrest caused an upset in the academic programme.

On the video below, tips for learners ahead of final matric results:

In some instances, schools opened earlier and closed later to make up for the lost time.

KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC, Kwazi Mshengu, says while it is difficult to predict the outcome of this year’s results, he is optimistic that learners will do well.

“This 12 Point Plan focus on the following areas; it was the improvement in the performance in big subjects such Mathematics, Science, Economics, etc. The improvement of learners at risk, those learner were progressed from Grade 11 to Grade 12 in line with the progression policy. It is important familiarising learners with question papers format and addressing learning time loss and addressing shortage of time through e-learning opportunities and taking advantage of technology available in our schools.”

Mshengu has provided a breakdown of candidates who will be sitting for the final matric exams this year.

“The KwaZulu-Natal province is the biggest in the country. It will administer 201 107 full-time and part-time candidates which are the largest in the last six years. We have 178 262 full-time candidates and we have 22 845 part-time candidates, which makes a total of 201 107 candidates that will write exams. The province has 6 704 examination rooms, 6 022 invigilators, 13 nodal points and 102 distribution points for examination papers.”

Lethokuhle Cele, a Lamontville High School learner, says she is using the strength that she’s gained through her challenges this year, to work hard and produce good results.

“It was very hard because sometimes you wake up in the morning and find out one of your classmate has tested positive for the virus and it will be scary but though with all these challenges we managed to be here.”

The impact of COVID-19 on not only the learners themselves but their families is ongoing.

Learners Liam Marshall and Anele Gumede from Grosvenor Boys High School and Mowat Park Girls High, say seeing their peers lose their loved ones and even parents to COVID-19 were hard to deal with.

Liam Marshall says, “It was a very hard time, but through all the hard work and dedication that we put in, I believe we will manage to pull through very well. We should be best friends with teachers, and neglect all bad and negative company and associate with people who will help you move forward.”

Anele Gumede says, “It was kind of cruel in a way, made times difficult for us when it comes to studying, absenteeism in schools, less school days mean less work being done. So, at the end of the day, it was really hard for matric of this year. So, I have focused on past papers and I have extended my learning periods.”

Teachers Thandi Tsotetsi and Sbusiso Khanyile offered up their vote of confidence in their students.

Thandi Tsotetsi says, “I speak success on you. I speak grades, and this is your year. You will be smiling to tertiary institutions.”

Sbusiso Khanyile says, “It has been a difficult year as some learners were de-motivated to come to school. We had to push and try our best to make sure that we finish the syllabus.”

The Department of Basic Education was forced to schedule the start of the final exams four days earlier, to accommodate the local government elections on November 1.