Marking of matric exams set to start under strict Covid-19 regulations

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Johannesburg – Following the delays in the 2020 academic calendar, more than 45 000 exam markers are set to commence with the marking of matric exam scripts across the country from today.

The recruited markers would be working under strict Covid-19 compliant centres until January 22 when they are expected to conclude the marking process of about 14-million scripts.

According to the department, 181 marking centres, including schools, have been identified and prepared for the marking process.

Unlike in previous years, this year’s announcement of the results is expected to take place on February 23.

At the weekend, departmental spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the department had revised the health and safety protocols to ensure the safety of all those who were involved in the process, including officials, educators and administration staff.

“The department is committed in ensuring that every marking centre adheres to the Covid-19 protocols so that marking centres are safe spaces for markers to carry out this critical function without being anxious about their health and safety,” Mhlanga said.

The department indicated that the marking process would be conducted in schools and other designated venues throughout the country where the use of personal protective equipment by all would be mandatory over the next 18 days.

The department has warned that it would charge those who had failed to disclose their positive Covid-19 status with misconduct.

The late marking of the matric exam scripts is, however, set to push back the commencement of the academic calendar of tertiary institutions.

Basic and higher education academic calendars were thrown into chaos last year when the government closed down institutions of learning in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in March.

Higher Education Department spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said while the academic year would now only start in April, it would not be jeopardised by the late delay in exam results due to the Covid-19 pandemic as there was also a plan to end the academic year later for last year, by mid-March this year.

“So we don’t think we will be affected much by the release of the results or any process thereto,” Mnisi said.

Wits University has indicated that it would only be confirming admissions from next month, after the department has announced the results.

The university has also indicated that it would give prospective students only three days to confirm their acceptance of admission, failing which the offer would be withdrawn.

With daily cases averaging between 15 000 and 18 000, all eyes remain on the national government to decide how plans for the new academic year would be aligned with strategies to combat the spread of the virus.

Almost 1.1-million Covid-19 cases had been recorded in SA by Sunday noon, with 29 175 deaths and 897 704 recoveries.

Political Bureau

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