Johannesburg - Many past matriculants will remember the feeling of waiting for that newspaper to see whether or not their names appeared in it. Some travelled to city centres where the newspaper printing presses churned out thousands of copies the night before. They felt it all: excitement, trepidation, nervousness, anxiety.
And those of us who felt the relief and happiness of seeing our names listed can never know how the other pupils who didn’t make it felt.
The Saturday Star spoke to pupils from the matric class of 2021 to find out how they felt about the Department of Basic Education’s announcement this week not to publish matric results.
Personally, I feel as though it was a smart and responsible decision. Speaking solely from a statistical point of view, it is already public knowledge that the matrics of 2021 have achieved lower grades than even the 2020 matrics. No one wants to be publicly humiliated if they have not received the highest of marks. I do understand that it is almost a rite of passage for matrics to all congregate at a gas station, for example, and pick up a newspaper and collectively experience that feeling of relief of being finally done with high school. But we have to think of the impact it will have if, even if it’s just one learner, what is being published is not all that flattering.
Family members all over will know what you've achieved possibly before even you know. It protects the child's privacy in this matter as it is their decision whether to share those results or not. It would have a more positive impact on mental health. So I feel the decision taken is the right one.
I'm happy about the results not being made public as I believe it is only something that should be shared amongst you and your family members without having others ridicule your results.
Anonymous matric pupil
I’m personally not fazed if it’s released publicly or not; however, I believe that the matric results should be presented privately as the results belong solely to the learner and do not need to be shown to everyone. The private display of results might also result in a decrease in the suicide rates of matric learners. The matriculants of the class of 2022 won’t feel as much pressure compared to previous matrics knowing that their results won’t be made public and for everyone to see.
I genuinely believe that the results not being made public indicates some sort of secrecy from the government, as if there is a confrontation we are trying to avoid or something, such as the truth, we are trying to hide. It has always been a norm or tradition for results to be made public. In this instance, it means that learners won’t really know how their peers performed, but only themselves. Stars across the country that performed really well won’t get the recognition and praise that they deserve.
I’m not entirely happy about the decision because I’ve felt that waking up in the morning or staying up at midnight only to ravage through the newspaper to be shocked by your results is an important part of the matric experience and to feel it be taken away is a bit frustrating. The raw emotion in response to whatever is on that piece of paper may make or break you in that moment in time. It’s what your school life has built up to. The idea that they are backing our privacy is valid in some aspects, yet also seems perplexing because only I know my student number… it doesn’t make sense to me. There are mixed emotions on the topic, and while I understand why some are happy about this, I don’t see why protecting a number that only we, the students know about that will be attached to how we have performed, we’re never going to use it again in our lives.
The results being announced so late have made me anxious and the fact that it is so close to the start of university is scary. However, I am excited to receive my results. I feel the decision to stop printing the results in newspapers is better for privacy reasons, but it also makes receiving results a little more confusing and complicated. My friends feel the same way I do as some have moved away from Johannesburg, which makes it even more complicated to get their results.
I feel mostly anxious about seeing and getting my results as well as my personal performance in my exams. I don’t feel too strongly for or against the matric results not being published in the media because I think that there are other places we can still get it. I would say that the general sentiment is confusion as to why the decision was made this way and so close to the announcement of the matric results.
We have a website where we can access our results. I can imagine that it isn't pleasant for many people. It only pits young students against one another and makes it a really toxic environment for people. You would see people's marks and names and who passed and who didn't. It's a very personal thing and the disappointment of failing can be very intense. I think not posting the names would be a good decision.
Honestly, I am not too affected by the decision not to publish the matric results in the paper because the IEB has set up a site where students can input their exam number and date of birth to retrieve their results. However, I do despise this decision as for some students they don't have access to the privileges that I do and the newspaper might be the only means of retrieving results for a while before they have access to the physical results. I would not want to wait that extra time to know whether or not I have passed as it causes quite a bit of stress.