It’s been a tough year, but finally, the Matric class of 2020 begin the final examinations on Thursday. More than a million pupils are expected to sit for the examinations, which kicks off with English Home Language Paper One. The Covid19 pandemic disrupted the education system and Matrics missed out on two months of schoolwork. Many Grade 12 learners are feeling anxious and stressed, given the limited teaching time. Abdu-Daiyaan Mohamed from Gardens Commercial high school speaks about the challenges of this year.
“Learning from home during the hard lockdown was very difficult because the environment is so informal. But the motivation and support from all the educators and family has been very encouraging and will push us to do our best, despite the odds being against us during the pandemic,” he said.
Jehaan Laatoe from Trafalgar high school said the pressure of returning to school during the Covid19 peak and the rush to complete the curriculum was very stressful.
“I wish we could have a do-over. It’s hard to believe that today we start our final exam which determines our whole future. It still hasn’t sunk in my head yet,” said Laatoe.
Lacasta Landa from Gardens Commercial high school said she was very anxious but hopeful.
“I don’t know if I studied enough, I don’t know what to expect in the paper. I feel like the teaching wasn’t enough. But teachers did their best, and now it’s up to us. All I can just do is pray.”
Fellow matriculant Amaal Ghafieldien is positive for the best outcome.
“Despite the obstacles, we pulled through. To the educators who stood by us through thick and thin and those who sacrificed time and resources to ensure we are fully equipped for the final exam, we thank you. To my fellow matriculants, we got this!”
“Although this year was unconventional, I want to have a positive outlook. We are finally here I’m happy we made it this far,” added Lebo Ramaema, also from Gardens Commercial high.
Well wishes have come pouring in for the Matric class of 2020, who will be writing under unprecedented circumstances this year.
“I want to wish all our 2020 matrics the very best for your final exams. I know this year has been unusual and unsettling, but I have absolute confidence in your resilience and ability to succeed. You have had a lot of help and worked hard, and we are rooting for you. Good Luck!,” said MEC for Education in the province, Debbie Schafer.
She also appealed to communities to avoid disrupting the exams in any fashion.
“Each year we face challenges due to community unrest or transport disputes, and this creates unnecessary anxiety for our learners and sometimes prevents them from writing an exam entirely.
“With such a large group of learners writing at once, it is vital that no unnecessary disruptions occur. Our matrics are already going to have to cope with some unusual safety measures because of Covid-19, and will understandably be nervous as a result. We cannot afford to cause them any additional anxiety.”
Head of Education in the Western Cape Brian Schreuder said he has confidence that learners are well prepared.
Meanwhile, the Basic Education Department has stressed the importance of maintaining health and safety protocols. Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said students will not be turned away from their exam. Candidates who present with a temperature of 38 degrees and above will be checked thrice, ten minutes apart, before being asked to write in an isolation room. This room, he says, was a requirement for schools during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the sector is grateful for the intervention of the health department which had last week amended regulations to accommodate more students. He further encouraged caregivers to provide full support and for tutors to assist where necessary.