The Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga is expected to announce the results of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations on Monday, 22 February 2021.

The department’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga has said that they are on track to release the results, but noted that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, things would be somewhat different from the previous years.

“We are on schedule. We are just putting on the final touches…We’re doing things differently this year because of COVID-19 so we can’t gather in one place and do what we have done before. We have come up with a different plan which we are working on right now, but it looks like all province are ready,” Mhlanga said.

In previous years, the release of the matric results saw hundreds of the country’s top performing pupils gather to be honoured by the basic education department in a televised ceremony. However the department has scrapped such plans for this year’s event.

Concern over matric 2020 dropout rate

One aspect Angie Motshekga is expected to touch on is the overall number of pupils who have dropped out of matric, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. In August 2020, the basic education department told Parliament that its projections are that over 52 000 learners in Grade 7 and over 23 000 matriculants would not return to class.

Mhlanga said the fact that learners spent a great deal of time away from the classroom made it difficult as many would then opt to stay home and abscond.

“When you keep learners away from school for an extended period, it becomes too difficult for you to attract the attention back to school. That’s why we insisted last year that schools must remain open. Yes, we know that people had anxiety and fear about safety in school if children went back, but we insisted because we believe that school was the best place for children to be,” he added.

The 2020 matric examinations were marred by the leaking of the Mathematics and Physical Sciences question papers. This prompted the Department of Basic Education to order a rewrite of both exams, however the decision was then reversed after Afriforum and the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) approached the courts.

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Presh JM Reporter

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