Shaky start for matric exams as load-shedding hits schools

The basic education department has not yet determined the extent of the disturbance of stage 2 load-shedding at schools. Stock image.
Image: paylessimages / 123RF Stock Photo

The basic education department has not yet determined the impact of stage 2 load-shedding at schools across the country.

The rotational power cuts came as thousands of grade 12 pupils were due to write their computer applications technology (CAT) and information technology (IT) examinations on Wednesday.

Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga described the power cuts as unfortunate.

“The extent of the impact has not been established because we are waiting for provinces to report. We will provide an update later.

“We are monitoring the situation closely. We will look into the possibility of alerting Eskom to the negative effect the power cuts may have on national exams,” said Mhlanga.

In Limpopo, at least 1,067 pupils were expected write their CAT and IT examinations but the exams were disrupted, according to education spokesperson Sam Mkondo.

Education spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said a notice of load-shedding was received at the last minute, but the department was able to put contingency plans in place.

“These protocols include ensuring that no learner leaves the examination venue should the electricity cut out, and that they are instead quarantined until electricity resumes and technical assistance is provided,” said Hammond.

Despite the disruptions, 8,960 pupils wrote the CAT examination at 274 centres, according to Hammond.

While it was unclear how long the power cuts would go on for, Mhlanga said there were contingency plans in place to deal with future disruptions.

“We, however, have a backup exam which can be scheduled if there are candidates who are not able to write this exam. Contingency plans are always put in place to accommodate situations of this nature,” he added.

BY NONKULULEKO NJILO

TimesLIVE

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