- The marking of matric scripts is still on track.
- This is despite nearly 300 markers having tested positive for Covid-19.
- The Eastern Cape is the only province that has tested all their markers.
The marking of matric exam papers is still on track and will be completed on time.
This is according to the Department of Basic Education's head of exam Priscilla Ogubanjo. On Monday morning she said despite marker withdrawals and Covid-19 cases reported at centres, marking was still on track.
So far, according to Ogubanjo, 2 676 markers have withdrawn from the process and have been replaced. Gauteng has the highest number of withdrawals at 827, followed by the Western Cape with 600. The Free State had the least number of markers withdrawing at 60.
Basic Education head of department Mathanzima Mweli said: "There has been anxiety and fear among markers and their families to the extent that some of the marking personnel opted to withdraw from the process. While some withdrew due to the fear, others withdrew because they themselves tested positive for Covid-19 or somebody in the family had tested positive.
"In the majority of the cases in the Eastern Cape, most if not all of the markers who tested positive reported that they had recently attended weddings, funerals or a family ceremony with a considerable amount of people present. This confirms to us once again that social gatherings and the lack of compliance in such settings remains our single biggest challenge when it comes to the fight against Covid-19."
Ogubanjo said they were prepared for the withdrawals and had asked provinces to appoint up to 15% reserve markers for every paper in each subject.
In addition to voluntary withdrawals, markers who tested positive while at the centres have also had to be replaced. A marker from an Estcourt centre in KwaZulu-Natal died after being rushed to hospital. It is believed the marker went to the centre already sick.
One marker who was in contact with her has tested positive for Covid-19 and eight others are in isolation. Another 238 markers across the country tested positive after reporting to centres. The Eastern Cape was the only province that tested all markers using rapid test kits before they were allowed into the centres.
Ogubanjo said the department was confident that marking would be concluded on time because they had made provision for delays in their plans.
Usually, marking lasts 14 days, but this year it was put down for 18 days.
"Those extra four days were included in the plan to make for extended time in case there is a need. You might find that there are a few provinces that might go up to the 22nd but most of them will finish within 12 days.
"We are putting health and safety first but we also are making sure that the reliability and validity of marking is not compromised. That at the end when they finish we will be able to say to the public that this marking was reliable," she said.
Marking of exam scripts is expected to be completed on 22 January and matric results will be released on 23 February.
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