The Democratic Alliance extends its best wishes to the Grade 12 pupils from the Eastern Cape registered as candidates for the National Senior Certificate, who have begun writing their final exams this week.
As the matric exam season gets underway, it is imperative that the Eastern Cape Department of Education makes sure that there are contingency plans in place to deal with possible further loadshedding, as was experienced across the country last week.
The DA is also concerned by the announcement that the Department has lowered its requirement for some teachers to qualify as matric markers in physical science after applicants failed to meet the eligibility criteria.
According to a document dated January 21, an Eastern Cape teacher would be eligible for appointment as a marker if their matric class in 2016, 2017 or 2018 achieved a pass rate of 50% and over in the subject that the teacher taught.
This was subsequently dropped to 40% for about 10 teachers applying to mark physical science after the provincial education department failed to get the required number of markers.
This is in sharp contrast with the DA-led Western Cape, where prospective markers have to take competency tests and only those scoring 60% and above are eligible to mark.
It is vital that the integrity of the examinations, and the subsequent results, are maintained. The Department must ensure that the credibility of the final matric results is beyond question.
The DA applauds all matrics for their hard work and determination just to get to this point. Thousands of Eastern Cape learners have had to overcome trying circumstances, including teacher shortages, lack of subject content, inadequate scholar transport, mud schools, poor toilet facilities and an unpleasant learning environment, to be where they are.
We also extend our heartfelt thanks to the teachers who have also faced enormous hardships, including salaries being paid late, failing infrastructure, lack of resources, overcrowded classrooms and many, many more.
We commend these educators who, despite all these challenges, continue to shape the minds of our youth.