Are we creating "incompetent future surgeons" or more opportunities? Readers respond to scrapping supplementary exams

Are we doing justice to our future leaders by scrapping supplementary exams?
Are we doing justice to our future leaders by scrapping supplementary exams?

Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga recently announced that the restrictive supplementary matric exams will be done away with in 2019, and replaced by a full second national exam. He explained that this would give students more time to prepare for rewrites to pass or improve their marks. 

The second national exam would also afford students the opportunity to rewrite all their subjects if they so wish – something the supplementary exams didn’t allow with a maximum of only 2 subjects.

But after we published the story on our site, many readers didn’t agree with Mhlanga, saying that scrapping supplementary exams will only further lower the pass rate and produce "unqualified future surgeons".

Here’s what they had to say:

"Dear Department of Basic Education, you are creating incompetent individuals"

Ndileka MaDeyi Pepu poses a question to the Department: "Do you ever think of asking for advice from the DHE [Department of Higher Education & Training] and workplace when you create this mess? Why did you change a system that worked in the first place? I got my basic education in the homeland in EC, we read in class loud everyday, we did Maths first thing in the morning, we did poetry orally and loud, doing hand work was compulsory, being late in school was an issue, dating in school was a big issue and not tolerated, sport was compulsory unless you were sick, we grew vegetables in the school garden and we ate it, nurses were invited to do immunisation in school and also teach us and the community basic hygiene."

She continues, "Some may call it Bantu education but when I look at it now it was empowering us to be smart, self-sufficient, responsible citizens. Not this property-burning monsters you are creating."

Will they get results in time?

Another question posed to the Department came from Chris May, asking if the Department would be able to get everything in order for students to then apply to university with those updated results by September.

*We were curious too! We've emailed the Department of Basic Education to ask them about this and will update this story once we've heard back from them.

"Fix the quality of education in South Africa and this won't be a problem"

But one teacher actually commented:

So which is it then? Some felt that maybe it is about giving students more time:

"Giving matric students more time to prepare is not the worst idea"

To all those who thought it was a "stupid idea", Sakhumzi Luphelo Aseni responded:

He continues, "As far as I know this will give learners who didn't do well the first time enough time to prepare for the re-exams, it will allow students who passed but didn't get enough marks or points to enter into the university or course of their choice a second chance to work hard and write their matric again with adequate time to prepare..."

Sakhumzi wasn't the only one who thought that learners need more time to prepare. Janet Thomson, a school teacher, explained, "This article is about changing of an exam policy, there is no mention of lowering the standard of education. The work load on current pupils in matric is more than it was when I finished school, and as a teacher, I think giving matric students more time to prepare is not the worst idea."

She suggest that if we don't let students write their matric over two years we should then at the very least "re-assess the overwhelming load on matrics".

What do you think of the Department of Basic Education's decision? Do you think this will improve the matric pass rate? Tell us by emailing and we may publish your comments.

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