Matric exams to start early – Here's why


The basic education department announced on Wednesday morning that the matric examinations will start earlier than initially scheduled to accommodate the local government elections.

According to the department, the national senior certificate exams will start on October 27 and not November 1, the day South Africans head to the polls.

“The papers, English (home language, first additional language and second additional language) paper 1, business studies paper 1, and the non-official languages paper 1, scheduled originally for November 1 and 2, will now be written on October 27 and 28 respectively.”

Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) “held a special meeting where the decision was taken earlier this morning”.

“The CEM meeting took place following consultations with key stakeholders in the basic education sector. The changes were necessitated by the local government elections which will take place on November 1.

“Pupils eligible to vote will be able to cast their ballots.”

Mhlanga said the CEM had approved the matric exam timetable in May this year.

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma last Wednesday announced the local government elections would take place on November 1.

Mhlanga said consultations about exams took place with teacher unions, school governing associations and professional bodies last Friday.

“The purpose of the consultation sessions was to deliberate on what would be the most appropriate option regarding a change to the timetable, given we are five weeks away from the commencement of the examinations.

“There are 207 question papers to be written over 25 days and there are no vacant sessions in the current 25-day timetable, hence the rescheduling needed to be confined prior to the commencement date or post the conclusion date.

“The best interest of the pupil was a key consideration in addition to ensuring minimum change to the current timetable was made to avoid confusion.”


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