The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has issued a set of revised protocols for schools to follow for Matric exams. These protocols were released a few days into Matrics having already started exams and confused many around the country.
DBE says it has issued a circular to accompany the revised protocols for schools to implement when managing possible and confirmed COVID-19 cases in schools during the matric examinations.
The department in conjunction with the Department of Health (ExecuteH), agreed last week to allow learners that have tested positive for COVID-19, to write the Combined 2020 November examination under specific conditions. All the stakeholders supported the department and made inputs on the handling of COVID-19 cases during matric examinations.
The protocols and the circular were developed together with stakeholders following a series of consultative meetings over the weekend with teachers’ unions, school governing body organizations and the South African Principals Association. The documents have already been distributed to schools.
The teacher union representatives and SGB governors as well as school principals at the meeting welcomed the measures taken to ensure that all candidates of the Class of 2020 matric are given the opportunity and support to sit for the examination albeit under unusual circumstances.
The essential part is that parents/guardians of candidates that have tested positive for COVID-19 are obliged to inform the school principal immediately of the positive status of the candidate. Should parents neglect to inform the school of their child’s status, they will face legal action.
“The department also appeals to parents and communities to continue supporting the Class of 2020 throughout the examination period,” the department said.
The Provincial Education Department (PED) will be working with the Provincial Department of Health to find suitable isolation venues.
“This could be a clinic, a room in a hospital, a community hall, a church hall or any other venue, which includes the home, that is conducive to the writing of an examination.” said the department in a statement.
“This is to ensure that arrangements can be made for the candidate to write the examination at an isolation venue that complies with the health, safety and also the regulations relating to a secure examination,” the Department of Basic Education said in a statement.
“Candidates are advised to be extra cautious during this period of the examination to minimise their risk of contracting the virus. They should refrain from attending any social gatherings and strictly observe the protocols relating to social distancing, wearing of the mask and hand sanitizing.
This release of protocols comes after the Department announced in few words changes to the protocols. This then lead to confusion from learners, teachers, principals, unions and even the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).
WCED and teacher unions have said that they were not consulted and the changes and that before the full circular was released, the new measures and protocols were not clear on what was allowed.
Click here to see the full Recedevernment Circular.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé