South Africa: Matric Exams Commence Amidst Load Shedding Resumption

Thousands of matric learners are starting their final exams on Monday as load shedding resumes across the country.At least 717,377 matriculants in 6,898 centres will sit for their exams as the 2023 National Senior Certificate examinations begin.

Eskom resumed Stage 2 load shedding on Sunday night and said it would escalate the nationwide black-outs to Stage 3 on Monday.

For the past three years, the government has been promising back-up power for state schools during load shedding but this has not happened.

A nationwide rollout of rooftop solar panels has also not begun. However, even that solution would not help some schools in major CBDs that rely on electricity as they have no access to direct sunlight.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga told a media briefing that everything was ready for an incident-free start to the exams.

Motshekga said there were 34,626 fewer candidates this year than in the class of 2022, adding that this was because more learners were reaching their final without failing along the way.

“There has been an increase in the number of part-time learners from 168,631 in 2022 to 181,143 in 2023. A total of 207 question papers, 72,500 invigilators and 52,500 markers will drive the examination process.

“Furthermore, our roster boasts 72,500 invigilators who are ready to ensure the smooth conduct of the examinations, compared to 72,000 last year,” Motshekga said.

Motshekga said the State Security Agency had audited the process to ensure there were no paper leaks.

The exams start with Computer Applications Technology and Information Technology but these are subjects that are written by learners in affluent schools with some form of backup power.

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