Matric exam timetable changes to accommodate elections

The 1st of November 2021 was the date set aside for matriculants to begin their national senior certificate final examinations, but the department of basic education has amended the examination timetable and brought the exams forward to accommodate the upcoming local government elections. The elections are scheduled for 1 November 2021.

In a statement on Wednesday, 15 September, the department announced that the exam papers for English paper one; Business Studies paper one and the non-official languages paper one, which were scheduled to be written on 1 and 2 November, will now be written on 27 and 28 October.

“The changes were necessitated by the local government elections, which will take place on 1 November  2021. Learners eligible to vote would now be able to cast their ballots,” the department’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said.

He said that the decision follows after meetings were held last week with teacher unions, school governing body associations and professional bodies.

“The purpose of the consultation sessions was to deliberate on what would be the most appropriate option regarding a change to the timetable, given that there are five weeks from the commencement of the examination.

“The best interest of the learner was a key consideration in addition to ensuring that a minimum change to the current timetable was made to avoid confusion,” Mhlanga said. 

Last week, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma proclaimed that elections would take place on Monday 1 November. 

Mhlanga said the digital Woza Matrics programme that was launched to help matric learners to catch up on their studies will be an aid.

“The programme is available in all digital platforms and it is zero-rated, which means anybody with or without data can access it,” said Mhlanga. 

The department has also urged all candidates to keep working hard and making use of all resources available to support their learning.

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Chris Gilili
Chris Gilili is a climate and environmental journalist at the Mail & Guardian’s environmental unit, covering socioeconomic issues and general news. Previously, he was a fellow at amaBhungane, the centre for investigative journalism.

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