From the news desk

Last Stretch of 2023 Matric Exams

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By Ragheema Mclean

The matric class of 2023 has officially reached the final stretch of their National Senior Certificate exams, with just under 1 million learners across the nation wrapping up their last exam papers.

In the Western Cape, learners are set to write Paper 3 for Afrikaans Home Language, First Additional Language, and Second Additional Language today (Friday 1 December), while several exams with smaller candidate numbers will continue into next week.

The exams, which started on 30 October, will officially conclude next week Wednesday, 6 December.

Speaking on the VOC Breakfast show on Friday, Western Cape Education Department (WCED) Spokesperson Bronagh Hammond noted that the 2023 exams have progressed smoothly, experiencing minimal disruptions.

“It’s been a really smooth-running matric exams and there has been little disruption in terms of protest action which is something that we’re grateful for.”

“We are on the final stretch; the biggest exam ends today and then there are a few minor exams still taking place during next week.”

Like any other year, the end of the matric exam season usually signals the start of several celebratory rages and events.

As a result, the WCED has urged all learners to celebrate responsibly during matric rage parties and events.

Hammond urged, “We are really urging them to celebrate responsibly.”

“The most important thing is driving responsibly, we’re seen far too many instances where learners caught drunk driving.”

Furthermore, the department has also appealed to all parents to make sure that their children understand the risks associated with large social events.

“Parents need to sit their children down and advise them to take the necessary precautions and be responsible when celebrating.”

Regarding school reports, the WCED has reiterated that public schools cannot withhold report cards due to unpaid fees or undelivered textbooks.

“Schools cannot withhold report cards because of the non-payment of fees or the non-delivery of textbooks.”

“We do ask parents to make an effort to ensure that their children are returning textbooks before they enter into the new grade.”

Hammond noted that often school principals may withhold report cards temporarily on the condition that parents arrange a meeting with the schools to make payment arrangements.

“A principal can say to the parent that we’re not giving you the report card now, but you can come and collect it have a chat with us and we’ll make arrangements.”

“Ultimately the report card should be handed over to the parent at the end of the day.”

2024 Learner placements

According to the department as of November 2023, it has placed 119 110 (98.7%) learners for the 2024 school year, with ongoing efforts for the remaining 1 568 applicants.

Meanwhile, the WCED has raised concerns about the deep budget cuts imposed by the Treasury, claiming that it had to scale back plans to build schools, resulting in more children remaining in overcrowded facilities.

“We have a huge infrastructure programme underway, unfortunately that build was delayed because of recent budget cuts.”

Hammond said initially the department planned to build 21 schools, but now that total has gone down to 11 new schools.

“In total we are building 608 classrooms for the 2024 academic year – builders and officials are on site as we speak to ensure that everything runs smoothly.”

VOC News

Photo: Pixabay

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