Do matrics feel ready?

2008-10-27 00:00

It is crunch time for the 600 000 South African matriculants who will be sitting for the first National Curriculum Statement (NCS) starting this week.

For the first time, the exams will have no differential grade system.

The Witness spoke to local pupils to find out how prepared they are for the 29 subjects, their study routines and how they feel about the phasing out of standard and higher grade.

Emmanuel Pillay (18) of Heather High School in Northdale said his trial exam results show he is “more or less ready” for the big exams — he passed all his subjects.

His study routine includes getting a good rest and studying throughout the day.

“Personally, I have no stress about the new curriculum. I think if you prepared early, there would be no problem.

“But I feel the Education Department made a big mistake by phasing out the grades, simply because not every student will be catered for. I want to study Pharmacy next year and I’m fortunate that I’m strong in subjects like physics and maths. But there are students who have been forced to do simpler subjects, which ultimately will result in them pursuing careers they don’t really want.”

Pillay felt the decision to allow pupils to see their results at schools, rather than in the press, is a wise one.

He said he is ready for his first paper, English, on November 4.

Nolwazi Phakathi (18) of Siyahlomula High School in Ashdown said her main concern is the fact that her school was late in finishing the syllabus for certain subjects.

“I have set myself a study timetable and find that the best time is 4.30 pm because the noise levels are generally still low around the house and in the township.”

She said she wishes this year’s were not the first matrics to write under the new curriculum, as they have no way of knowing what to expect.

Physical Science and Maths are her bigger worry because “I would have certainly done them on standard grade. But I do feel that moving everything to higher grade was a good move by the department because you know you have to work harder to make it.”

Georgiana Burton (18) of Girls’ High School said she feels sure of the standard of education her school offers and the number of As she earned on her trial exams is proof that she is pretty prepared.

“What is a worry for me is the fact that we are always told that trials are always so hard and I found them to be pretty easy. Sometimes I worry that maybe I’m not as prepared as I think and there could be a surprise in the finals.

“But I’m really confident of the standard we received at GHS, they always take good care of their matrics.”

Burton expressed disappointment that study guides were only delivered by the department after the trial exams.

“We actually received 70 Study Mates when there are 220 girls in matric. We basically would not have written June exams had the school not prepared something for us because the paper came late. ”

She said she doesn’t mind being the first to write under the new curriculum because someone has to be, but wishes the Education Department had their act together.

She also felt that the no grading system would not be a true measure of where each person stood.

Gareth Clayton (18) of Eastwood Secondary said his actual studying did not start that early.

“I often study the evening before the exam. I remember more under pressure, that just works for me. I personally have no problem with the new system, but I feel people expect a lot from us when the system has changed so much and we are not used to it.”

Clayton feels that with grading phased out, no one would think they are better than others, but admitted the slower pupils need extra attention.

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