2 November 2020
It should be noted that despite the abnormal context, The Class of 2020 matriculants go through the same rigorous high quality examination that previous cohorts were subjected to, as The Department of Basic Education has not made any changes to the exam papers, which were already set in 2019.
“The state of readiness to write the 2020 examinations is predicated on a number of factors beyond the normal indicators of system readiness. The sector has had to double its efforts to ensure that the Class of 2020, despite the disruptions of the academic year, are fully prepared for this examination,” said Department of Basic Education.
The department had to put in place measures to counter the loss of academic time as a result of COVID-19 lockdown. Measures such as
the provision of supplementary material, vacation classes, after-school programmes, teacher content training, placement of volunteer teachers, as well as alternative ways of grouping and teaching learners were put in place.
To date all Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) have completed the training of chief invigilators and invigilators. Strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in Provinces where face-to-face modality was used for the training of invigilators is in cluster groupings was observed.
PEDs have appointed private invigilators and private monitors to manage and monitor the administration of the exam at designated centres and also increased coverage of monitoring.
“All private invigilators have been trained together with the Chief Invigilators by the Head Office examination staff. Provinces completed the training of monitors by the end of October 2020,” said the department.
Social distancing was been decreased to 1m, and this has assisted with the space provision for the writing of the examination.
The Basic Education Department reports that all provinces have identified the required number of marking centres to accommodate all the markers for the combined examinations. A plan for the marking guidelines standardisation meetings (MSMs) has been developed with the face to face and virtual modalities that will be used.
To monitor the process daily reports will be submitted to the DBE during the writing period and provinces are expected to submit the final Irregularity Reports on or before 25 January 2021.
The Department, further said, “After seeking the expert advice from the Department of Health we have amended our writing protocol to allow learners that present a temperature of above 38°C, during the screening process, to write the examination in isolation. Such learners will not be allowed to associate with other learners after the examination and will be referred to for medical attention. The condition of such learners will be closely monitored in subsequent examinations.”
Despite the negative impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning, innovative measures have been developed and used to ensure the readiness of the Class of 2020.