Matric exams: crunch time for class of 2010

2010-10-25 00:00

IT’S D-Day for hundreds of thousands of matriculants who will be writing their first paper at 9 am today.

A total of 642 691 pupils are registered to write the grade 12 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams, which commence today across the country and end on December 3.

This is 22 980 more candidates registered to write than last year. As was the case last year, KZN accounts for the lar­gest number of writing candidates at 131 379, with Gauteng and Limpopo provinces following at 94 546 and 93 806 respectively.

In 2008, the first group of matriculants charted unknown territory by becoming the first classes to write the NSC.

Back then, teacher unions were painting a bleak picture about the final exam results; there were concerns about teacher training and whether pupils would cope with the standard of the new exam.

Teachers complained to newspapers about inadequate resources, notably textbooks and material for the new curriculum, with some schools protesting that they had not received assistance from subject advisors.

A month-long public ser­vants’ strike in 2007 was blamed as one of the major disruptions to teachers’ training.

Two years later, the 2010 class appears to be having similar problems.

Some teacher unions in the province have said they believe that KZN matriculants will be disadvantaged due to an insufficiently co-ordinated recovery programme after the three-week strike that rocked the academic year, shortly after the World Cup.

One educationist believes everyone needs to take the responsibility for the class of 2010 being short-changed this year.

Pete Jugmohan, a lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’ School of Education and Development, has contact with schools in all corners of the province.

He works with principals through the Ace School Leadership Programme and teachers doing their Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

While he says many schools would have finished the syllabus, this cannot be true for all of them.

“I must tell you that I travel as far as Mbazwana , Matatiele, Madadeni, Steadville, Umsinga and all the way to the Tugela Ferry.”

He added that there are some children who are saying “we are lost”.

Jugmohan said that when it came to both the World Cup and the strike, the views of the government, teachers and Fifa were widely publicised, but no-one had bothered to ask the pupils how they felt about their year being affected.

“For me that is crucial. We had one teacher union here in the city solemnly promising to make material available for matrics post-strike, which has not happened.

“You can’t placate people by saying you will do something just to get their support”

Jugmohan believes that teachers would have had better leverage in salary negotiations before the World Cup.

However, rather than embarrass the country and save “our children”, they thought it was better to “impress the world”, he said.

Jugmohan also questioned why schools were closed for the whole day during the World Cup since there were no matches in the mornings.

“I think we needed more maturity in thinking from the powers that be.

“I hope there won’t be a day where this generation looks back and says ‘we were robbed of our full potential’. And if that day comes we should all take the blame.

“But with that said, I still want to say to our matriculants that all is not lost.

“They can still rise to the challenge and there are teachers who are willing to help.”

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