Speech Notes: Members Statement on NSC Exams in a time of Covid

Issued by Yusuf Cassim, MPL
Shadow MEC for Education

The lives of our learners, teachers and their families continue to be put at risk during the matric examinations

On the 4th of November, a media statement was released by the department of basic education, stating that provisions must be made for matric learners, who test positive for covid, to write their examinations in a safe and regulated environment.

It is important to note that this was a joint agreement between the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Health which said the following:

“It was agreed that candidates who test positive, and deemed fit to write the examination, will be allowed to write albeit at a different venue and under secure conditions that are in compliance with the examination regulations. The Departments will work jointly to ensure that candidates who have been confirmed to be positive are given an opportunity to sit for the exams while ensuring that safety is observed.

The statement further welcomed the intervention from the department of health given that a learner who tests positive becomes the responsibility of the department of health and is no longer an education issue.

Bizarrely it would appear that the Eastern Cape Department of Health didn’t get the memo.
Our MEC for Health, Hon Gomba, and her officials have blatantly refused to follow this national directive, by refusing to play any role in assisting covid positive learners in writing their final examinations.

Our Department of Education has been left high and dry, told to deal with it themselves, which has essentially shifted the responsibility to schools who are ill equipped to provide safe invigilation facilities that would prevent a spread of the virus.

This is dangerous and irresponsible and puts all learners writing their NSC, the teachers and staff and their families at unnecessary risk.

The MEC will have the blood of learners, teachers, and staff on her hands.

All of this would be avoided if our health department would just does its job which raises the question as to how they can be allowed to get away with this as we approach the halfway point in the NSC examinations?

Not only has the Eastern Cape become the epicenter of covid and the epicenter of corruption, but we are now also the epicenter of embarrassment.

Hon Premier, how long will you sit back and allow your MEC’s to make these dangerous decisions? The actions of your executive council in a direct reflection of you as their leader.

MEC Gomba has created an ideal environment for the spreading of the corona virus amongst our matric learners, educators and their families.

Hon Premier, for the sake of their lives, act now to prevent further harm!

The Eastern Cape is currently the Covid hotspot of the country. In order for us to put an end to this virus, we need a capable state that works together. We need our people, municipalities, and government departments to work as a unit.

Unfortunately, this is not the case in the Eastern Cape.