Concerns as load shedding leaves matric learners in the dark, disrupts exam

SABC News Matric exams - Concerns as load shedding leaves matric learners in the dark, disrupts exam

The Department of Education has raised concerns over the possibility that grade 12 learner’s exams might be disrupted. This after Eskom announced that Stage 2 load shedding is likely to continue throughout the week.

The department on Wednesday said it has contingency plans in place should load shedding disrupt matric examinations.

Matric learners in almost all provinces across the country could not write or complete the Computer Applications Technology exam due to power cuts as a result of Eskom’s load-shedding.

The Basic Education Department is now considering rescheduling the exam. Basic Education Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says the department will engage with Eskom.

“Yesterday we saw many centres across the country being affected and candidates not been able to complete their examinations. We are now being forced to seriously consider having to schedule another day for these examinations which could not be written. We are engaging Eskom to alert them to the impact of the power cuts to the National Senior Certificate examinations.”

In Gauteng, some centres were able to continue with the exams through the use of generators. But Gauteng Department of Education says 317 learners at 10 matric centres couldn’t write their first paper.

Department spokesperson Steve Mabona says 36 exam centres used generators when the lights went out. It is still not clear how Thursday’s Information Technology exam has been affected.

“The frustrations were there, many of our centres could not write. We are talking about 10 centres that could not write. Those that managed to write as well were frustrated because some of them had to wait for 2 hours before electricity was restored some had to use generators but then the frustration of waiting that’s where the problem was.”


Power outages in Western Cape

The Western Cape Education Department says 30 matric examination centres have been affected by load shedding. Ministry spokesperson, Bronagh Hammond, says power outages have had an impact on the writing of the Computer Applications Technology paper.

Hammond says no learner is allowed to leave the examination venue when the power goes out.

“Learners that had already begun the exam will continue with where they left off once the electricity comes back on there is an automatic save function so that learners do not lose the work already completed in event of an electrical shortage or malfunctioning the WCED is in constant communication with all the schools via their subject advisors to ensure that the exam is managed inconsistent manner.”

Negative impact on learners 

KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC – Kwazi Mshengu – says the matric exam in the province got off to a good start on Wendesday, except for challenges with load shedding.

Mshengu says they have appealed to Eskom and national government to find other ways of saving electricity during the exams instead of load shedding.

He says if load shedding continues it will have a negative impact on learners.

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