Covid has caused many delays in South Africa’s education system. One way it has done this is that Matrics will not receive their outcomes from Universities they’ve applied to later than usual.
The 2020 academic year, and many of South Africa’s youth’s first year of University, will only start in March. This is due to Matrics only receiving their Matric results on 23 February 2020.
Universities only tell applicants whether they’ve been accepted or rejected once the results are released. Matrics are however encouraged to apply to Universities as closing dates for applications near as well.
Stellenbosch University will push to get prospective students their offers as soon as their final results are released with the University’s spokesperson, Martin Viljoen, saying, “If all goes well, we are aiming to publish our final offers within three working days after the release of the matric results”.
He also said that they are looking into any issues prospective students will have when dealing with University academics.
The University of Cape Town will also be adjusting their 2021 academic calendar because of the delay in the release of results but has not released any information on when their 2021 academic year will start.
Matrics are set to finish their final exams on 15 December as the Department made adjustments to make up for the loss in teaching time due to the National Lockdown and ensuing closure of all schools for months.
Umalusi, the examination authority for South Africa’s National Senior Certificate (NSC), said despite the educational hangover from lockdown, the exams would not be easier or cover less content.
“The content of NSC question papers has not changed,” said spokesperson for Umalusi, Lucky Ditaunyane, “Umalusi expects 2020 matric results of all assessment bodies to be released before the end of February 2021.”
2021 will see a record number of learners write as the Amended Senior Certificate, or adult matric, which usually takes place in June, and the November exams are combined, said Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.
The Department of Basic Education has said, “The Matric Exams for 2020 start in 29 days. Now is the time to verify your centre and examination numbers.”
Motshekga said, “The combined examination makes this the largest public examination that has been administered in our country. More than 1 million (1 058 699) candidates will sit for the examinations; and we certainly have never had to manage a number that large before”.
Due to having to follow safety protocols such as social distancing, the Department now has to have extra venues as well as invigilators in place for the final exams.
This delay does however have it’s advantages as it allows more time for marking and standardisation to happen, said Spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), Bronagh Hammond.
Some teachers have also gone above and beyond and are putting in extra hours to assist learners in preparing for their final exams.
“The earlier return (to school) as well as the delayed start date for exams has allowed matrics almost the same amount of teaching and learning days as they would have had in a normal year. The WCED has also provided more resources to the class of 2020 than any other matric class before them. We are doing all we can to try and take advantage of all learning opportunities with our learners,” said Hammond.
Another effect of the pandemic is that the National Benchmark Tests, which University’s usually include in their admission criteria, could not take place this year and is therefore not being included.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé