Today representatives for the Department of Education (DBE) provided updates on the marking of the 2020 Matric exams and, while things are on track for them to be completed, there have been casualties.
The DBE’s Assessment and Examination Director, Priscilla Ogunbanjo, reveals that multiple fatalities have been recorded at various exam marking centres around the country.
“Three fatalities were recorded in KwaZulu-Natal, one each in Limpopo, Gauteng, Western Cape and at the DBE centralised marking centre as well,” reads a release on the official SA News government site.
Ogunbanjo states that the deceased “arrived already ill” to the exam marking centres.
In total the DBE reveals that, of the 45 272 people assigned to mark the exams, 2 463 withdrew for reasons mostly related to COVID-19. Apparently 70 percent of those which withdrew were able to be replaced by the department. According to the DBE, 315 exam markers contracted COVID-19.
Earlier this week Elijah Mhlanga, Chief Director: Communications & Media: Department of Basic Education, revealed that the markers had quite the workload to get through, having to deal with 14 million exam scripts in 131 venues around South Africa. At the time the markers were 79 percent through the work and have only made up more ground in the last couple of days.
Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Northern Cape are actually ahead of schedule and have finished marking already. The other provinces will allegedly complete the work between today and tomorrow, aiming to have all scripts marked by 22nd January.
As marking of scripts continues to be completed capturing of results is happening too as these two functions overlap. 611 people are assigned to this process across 34 centres were similar health and safety protocols are being followed to those used in marking centres.
Capturing is expected to be completed rather soon on 25th January, with Ogunbanjo and the DBE reporting that no delays have been experienced yet, not even from the recent bout of loadshedding. That being said six provinces where capturing is being done have access to generators, and the remaining ones are sticking to loadshedding schedules to work around blackouts.
The 2020 Matric exam results are planned to be released on 22nd February 2021.