The 2018 matric exams are expected to be one of a first for deaf people, who will be able to use sign language in their exams, according to the education department.Another first is the writing of the Technical Mathematics and Technical Science exams.In a significant move for deaf pupils, the education department will administer an exam in sign language to 58 deaf pupils from 10 schools.The pupils' question papers will be signed to them and they will answer in sign language. The process is expected to be recorded.Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the department had piloted its assessment processes and didn't foresee any difficulties.READ: Deaf pupils march for equal treatmentIn another first time move, pupils were also expected to write both technical mathematics and technical science – in sync with the department's intention to provide a broader scope of subject offerings for pupils to allow for a stronger vocational slant in the curriculum.A total of 796 542 matric candidates will be writing the examination across 6 888 examination centres in the country. There are 629 141 full-time candidates and 167 401 part-time candidates. The 2018 National Senior Certificate exams begin on October 22 with the non-official languages and will conclude on November 28.Mhlanga promised that the department would leave no stone unturned in its bid to ensure credible examinations. About 147 question papers have been set and internally moderated by the department and approved by Umalusi. The question papers have been adapted for the blind and deaf candidates.Brailing of question papers for the blind and enlargements of font sizes for the partially sighted have also been completed. Printing and packing of the question papers by the provincial education departments is at an advanced stage.Involve deaf people in deaf education - protestersThey held placards that read: "Transformation in Deaf Education", "Nothing about Deaf without Deaf", and "Deaf voices leading solutions for Deaf education". "An aspect of the system that the department has honed in on in 2018, is the different points at which the question paper is stored en route to the school."We have audited each of these points and only those points that comply with the stringent criteria are allowed to store question papers. These storage points will be closely monitored by the national and provincial education departments."The department has also engaged the services of all the security agencies who will assist in maintaining a presence where necessary and will respond to requests at short notice."A resident monitor is expected to keep an eye on examination centres that were implicated in malpractice in previous years.On Friday, all candidates across the country are expected to voluntarily sign a pledge to commit to upholding the integrity of the examinations by not participating in any malpractice.A total of 44 505 markers have been appointed to mark across 141 marking centres. Marking will commence on December 1, except for the larger provinces, where marking will start earlier to ensure completion by December 15.