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Cape Town matrics face minimal disruptions amid taxi strike thanks to contingency plans

Cape Town matrics face minimal disruptions amid taxi strike thanks to contingency plans

Cape Town – Despite turmoil across the city as a result of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) two-day strike, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) said it was spared widespread disruption to the matric exams yesterday.

In the Western Cape, 32 868 National Senior Certificate candidates were scheduled to write yesterday and 27 154 today.

High enrolment subjects, life sciences and geography, would be written yesterday and today, with a number of smaller subjects, Education MEC David Maynier said.

In anticipation of the disruption, Maynier said contingency plans were communicated to exam centres and each matriculant via SMS, also urging learners to make alternative transport arrangements.

“Our schools have put plans in place to assist candidates if they can, using alternative transport and hostel facilities where available,” Maynier said.

Matriculants who could not reach their designated exam centre were able to write at their nearest centre.

“We have plans in place to ensure that there will be enough exam papers, stationery and invigilators at all venues,” Maynier said.

“Preliminary data suggests that while around 1% of our candidates were affected by the strike, these candidates were accommodated at their nearest centres where they were assisted by our staff so that they could write their exams.”

Ahead of the strike, Maynier had called on Santaco to call off or postpone the strike, so as to allow all learners to be able to write their exams.

“If candidates miss their exams, they will only be able to write again in May/June 2023, delaying their matriculation and thus their future employment and studies.”

Education activist and the Foundation for Education and Social Justice Africa (FESJA) deputy chairperson Hendrick Makaneta said it was unclear at this stage how many learners were affected.

“Preliminary reports are that exams are continuing as usual. What is encouraging is that the WCED has put in place contingency measures to ensure that there is minimum disruption of matric exams.”

Makaneta called on those striking to allow exams to proceed unimpeded.

Western Cape Teachers Forum founder Lee Hoffmann said some candidates had to write at alternative exam centres due to the suspension of bus services in high-risk areas, further compounded by non-operational train services.

Learners were given up to 60 minutes from the start of the exam to report to the exam venue. Internal examinations (Grades 8-11) were also affected, however schools had the option to reschedule where possible.

“A huge concern for us is learners with special educational needs. If, for example, deaf learners or learners who were granted assessment accommodations/concessions like scribing or reading, and these learners had to report to exams centres other than their own, then it may have been problematic as public ordinary schools do not necessarily have trained staff to deal with learners with special educational needs,” Hoffmann said.

shakirah.thebus@inl.co.za

Cape Argus

Original Article