ANC to hide exam farce

Date Published: September 9, 2020

The South African education system is filled with severe inequality. Coupled with a pandemic that has drastically impacted the academic year, this inequality can only have been made worse. 

With 1.1 million students set to write the 2020 matric final exams, many believe that it will turn out disastrously. 

Expecting the unexpected

Despite living in a very unpredictable time, we know that nearly 3 months of academic time have been lost. Due to most learning having moved online in this period, students were met again with inequality.

Some were able to continue schooling within the lockdown with access to online learning. Others were left in the dark, unable to connect and  as a result, experienced nearly 3 months of silence from their schools.

How can finals work?

Many beg the question, how can matrics be expected to write finals in just over 2 months?

This is what we know:

  • The Department of Education has pushed exams: Having pushed the exam starting date, the Department of Education believes there to be enough time for students and teachers to complete their curriculums. 
  • Woza Matrics: Angie Motshekga recently announced the Woza Matric’s initiative. This will be a TV aired program that will touch all subjects, 7 days a week. Students can tune in and take part in the catchup and revision based programme. 
  • The curriculum will be trimmed: The Department of Education has formed a recovery plan that will see curriculums being trimmed. This means that specific work will be cut out to ensure the work is finished before the 15th of November. 
  • Matric exams will not be trimmed: Matric exams will not be trimmed despite the trimming of the curriculum.
    Results will come out in February 2021:The release of the 2020 matric finals will come out in February 2021.

Learning inequalities

Many teachers have opted to send through documents onto whatsapp. This slack style of teaching now has many students trying to teach themselves. This means that the academic expectation of poorer schools and students is severely misplaced. 

Students in underprivileged communities can not be expected to catch up on a 2.5 month academic loss with so few resources. 

Many teachers have spoken of their inability to be able to cover their curriculums in time for exams. 

Schools have also experienced a high dropout rate due to the financial strain caused by the pandemic. Many parents are no unable to afford their children’s education. 

This leaves many matric pupils unprepared for their matric finals in November.

A political process

The matric results are a governmental spectacle. Jonathan Jansen, a columnist from Dispatch Live, believes that the government will do all they can to boost the 2020 matric results. He also fears great academic dishonesty. 

This fear is connected to the scope each student will get for their final exams. Many questions surround the reliability of the scope and the sudden disappearance of the rest of the curriculum. 

Yet another worry is that the government has stated that good attendance will ultimately count towards the final marks. 

In closing

The alteration and trimming of the curriculum will have drastic future effects on students. For both higher education and employment. 

The Department of Education has wrongfully decided to reduce academic work instead of improving the quality of accommodating their students. Even if that meant extending the academic year into 2021, it would at least give more underprivileged students a fighting chance.

Author: Andrea Frisby