Cape Town - With 2021 done and dusted, the anticipation to the countdown of the annual release of matric results has begun.
Some matriculants are apprehensive about the results given that they have transitioned to online classes in Grade 10 during the early stages of the pandemic.
Amidst widespread social unrest, power outages, and a rise in the cost of data, the class of 2021 also had to adjust to the changes in the curriculum.
Regardless of her disability, now ex-pupil of Eros High school Milka Bazeka said that she’s anxious because the pressure that came with the workload made matters worse.
“As a 2021 matric learner, I am very anxious about my results, not because I think I did badly, but because I went through a lot of challenges and pressure that came with Covid-19.
“Having to miss out on three months of school in 2020 and not writing a full-scale exam since 2019 due to Covid-19, really felt like an overload of work in 2021 despite the curriculum being shortened, we did not really feel it because we still had a lot of work to cover,” said Bazeka.
Charlene Thompson, who is also eagerly waiting for her results, said that despite 2021 being a roller coaster, she is glad she pushed through its hurdles.
“Starting 2021 was a blessing but all I can say is we tried our best to push through. Trying to study and focus was a big challenge for me during the preliminary examination. It's like I was practicing how to study rather than on my actual schoolwork to prepare for finals.
“Another challenge that was a major contribution to my anxiety now was Eskom’s schedule. Coming from a home that does not have much, I had to deal with what I had, and if lights went off, then I had no choice but to either work in the dark or risk it.
“However, for me I feel whatever the outcome of the results will be, completing every single final exam already made me a winner because I chose not to give up,” said Thompson.
Executive director for the National Professional Teaching Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa), Basil Manuel said despite the pandemic gripping the country, credit needs to be given to all the learners who pushed through the obstacles.
“First of all the matric pass rate is, of course, one of these things that grips the entire country but we should not forget that the 2021 academic year has been particularly difficult because of the great trials of the year. Despite all this, credit needs to be given to the matriculants for holding on, along with teachers who spend so much extra time.
“To expect a massive increase in the pass percentage is unrealistic. I think we must prepare ourselves for an average to good pass rate because if you look at what we had last year, I think if we do as well as last year it would be a special bonus, but even a dip will not be unexpected given the circumstances that prevailed.”
“It is important to remember that what we know about the pandemic today is much more and what we do need going forward is a return to normality in schools as soon as possible. I know the pandemic is still with us and I know there are some challenges, but I don't believe we can continue to put our children through such a massive impact.”
“Covid-19 has taught us that there is a lot of fat that can be trimmed, unnecessary things, and has also challenged us to look at 21st-century technologies and that is where we need to be going,” said Manuel.
He also added that a lot more needs to be done to improve the ability of reading because that is where big gaps are in primary schools and in the junior classes. Manuel feared that if reading is not sorted then pupils will suffer for their entire school career, given the change they had to go through during the pandemic.
Despite load shedding, provincial education spokesperson Millicent Merton said that the overall 2021 NSC exams proceeded without major disruptions.
“The marking and mark capturing processes for the NSC November 2021 examination were concluded on December 22 and 23 2021 respectively, as per the National NSC Exam Management Plan and currently the WCED is on track to release results to the NSC November 2021 with ministerial announcements taking place on the 20th and release of the candidate’s results on January 21 2022 as per the National Management Plan,” said Merton.