The 2017 Matric exams officially kick off today.
But it is only tomorrow where more than 630 000 pupils will sit for the national senior certificate exams when they write English paper 1.
Those writing today are writing the “unofficial languages” such as French, Arabic and Spanish.
The Department of Basic Education has said that it is all systems go and it is confident that the examination will run smoothly.
In total there are 802 636 pupils who will sit for this year’s matric exams – comprising of 634 527 full time and 168 109 part-time candidates. According to the department, KwaZulu-Natal, as with previous years, has the highest number of full-time candidates sitting at 153 624.
Two weeks ago, council for quality assurance Umalusi also announced that it was satisfied with the preparations for this year’s matric exams.
In recent years, the examination has been marred by incidents of cheating and last year a maths paper was leaked in Limpopo through WhatsApp. But the biggest scandal was in 2015 when group copying had emerged in several schools in KZN and Eastern Cape.
In a statement, the department has said that it has made the security and protection of the integrity of the national senior certificate its priority.
“The department has therefore continued to put significant focus on ensuring that it mitigates risks associated with the storage and movement of examination scripts employing the ‘Just in Time’ printing approach. The approach allows for examination scripts to be printed as close as logistically possible to the writing of the examination,” it said.
Umalusi said it worked very hard every year to improve is system and not allow any gap for any cheating incidences to happen but “unfortunately every year Umalusi becomes aware of new efforts by unscrupulous people to cheat the system”.
But the council said as with other years “drastic measures” will be taken against those who are implicated in any acts of dishonesty during the exams.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga also wished the class of 2017 luck as they start the exams.
“Keep your head down, study hard, stay focused and I am confident you will make us proud. After at least 12 years in the education system, you owe it to yourself to put your all into these examinations so that you are able to take advantage of post-schooling opportunities, the world is your oyster. Good luck to all of you”, she said.
Motshekga will release the results on January 4 and pupils will have access to them the following day.