Anxious teachers hope for the best for their matric pupils

2008-10-28 00:00

THE start of exams today has been met with great apprehension by local teachers.

Teachers said they have done everything in their power to prepare their pupils, but are worried about changes in the administrative system, which they say might cause some confusion.

Pupils are now required to carry a personal barcode on their scripts.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, a local principal said admission letters required for each student to write the exams, which also contain the rules and regulations, only arrived yesterday, along with the software needed for the Computer Application Technology Studies (Cats), scheduled for tomorrow.

“We are anxious to get things ready on time. With the exams being national, it has contributed to things being stretched to the last minute. “Cats is a complex exam and it will be different from last year. Our Hindu teachers are celebrating Diwali and that means downloading the software will need to be done only today even though the exam is tomorrow.”

Some said officials from the department are still checking if schools had all the required support materials, as many still do not have materials for all the subjects. They said it was not clear when these would be made available.

Others expressed concern that information from the provincial Education Department might not be correct.

“Our experience was that we were led to believe that some things would not be questioned [in trial exams], only to find they were there, or things are obscure in terms of presentation, or the visuals not clear. We are just worried about those surprises that might make pupils panic.”

Some teachers expressed unhappiness with the new curriculum, which they said was rushed into.

“There is a lot that needs to be sorted out. The point is there are a lot of weak candidates who are not strong academically, whatever you do.

“They at least had a fighting chance to get good results at standard grade, but now with the grades phased out, it might be a problem.

“Forcing students to do Maths is just putting undue pressure on them. What are they expected to do with a 30% mark?”

However, the view held by the majority of teachers is that they are ready to go.

They said if the final exams follow the pattern set in exemplar papers, the common tests and the trial exams, their pupils will do fine in their exams.

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