- Teacher unions say they will monitor Covid-19 hotspots.
- Markers have been asked to take personal responsibility to ensure no infections happen at marking centres.
- The Department of Basic Education says it has put in place strict Covid-19 protocols at marking centres.
Teacher unions have encouraged teachers to take personal responsibility for ensuring that the marking of matric exam papers is incident free.
On Monday, 45 000 matric exam markers will start the task of grading 14 million scripts in 181 centres across the country. Marking is expected to end on 22 January and matric results will be released on 23 February.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has published a list of Covid-19 protocols that will be implemented at marking centres. These include screening at the entrance to every marking centre and placing those exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms in an isolation room.
Teacher unions say while they are happy with the department's protocols, the final responsibility lays with the markers and personnel at the centres.
"The plans the department has are good on paper and it will depend on the attitude of the teachers and officials. They need to think about their families, their community. You cannot come from marking and go to a shebeen. You must go straight home. Your attitude should be about not wanting to be the one who brings the virus to the centre," the South African Democratic Teachers' Union's secretary Mugwena Maluleke said.
The National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa's executive director Basil Manuel said the union's main worry is markers who will be commuting every day.
"Not everyone can be residential and that, for us, has been a problem but we understand. We hope the markers will be responsible in their attitudes. You are in control of your destiny. If you leave the centre and go to an illegal tavern, what do you think will happen the next day? It is the behaviour of everyone that will make this a success. The officials have to be consistent in ensuring protocols are adhered to and our markers must also take responsibility for their own health and safety," Manuel said.
He said the union will be monitoring Covid-19 hotspots like the Western Cape, Gauteng and the uMgungundlovu Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.
"We need to ensure that provincial departments are implementing the protocols correctly, especially in the hotspot areas," Manuel said.
He said as senior markers were arriving at centres, they had received reports from the Western Cape about good screening protocols and concerns in Germiston in Ekurhuleni, where workers had to wait for scanners to be delivered.
Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.