It’s almost D-day for about 9 000 Western Cape matric pupils, who have only this weekend left to prepare to write the first paper of the 2011 National Senior Certificate exams.
The candidates will have three hours to complete the computer applications technology practical exam on Monday.
More than 41 000 full-time candidates, with 9 262 part-time candidates, have registered for the exams nationally this year.
Education MEC Donald Grant said on Thursday that he had confidence in the Class of 2011 and their abilities.
“They have worked hard, and have remained focused throughout the year,” he said.
Grant explained that there had been a marked increase in attendance at holiday schools, tutoring and other programmes this year.
“Now all we can hope for is that their hard work translates into good results,” he said.
This year’s matric exams will be written at 417 centres, then marked by 3 200 markers.
In July the SA Democratic Teachers Union in the province said it was outraged at the provincial education department’s decision to introduce competency tests as a selection criteria for matric markers.
Last month the union’s national executive committee (NEC) reiterated its opposition to the competency tests. It said Sadtu Western Cape had made an appeal for the national working committee to discuss the matter with the Department of Basic Education.
If it was still not resolved, Sadtu would call on all members not to mark matric scripts at the end of the year, Sadtu said at the time.
But Grant’s spokeswoman Bronagh Casey said on Thursday the provincial education department had met Sadtu, and was “confident that the matter has been resolved”.
She said that all teachers interested in marking scripts would be given the opportunity to do so, and that marking “will proceed as planned, with no expected disruptions”.
Competency tests were written for seven subjects – maths, physical sciences, life sciences, geography, business studies, accountancy and history.
Sadtu’s provincial secretary, Jonavon Rustin, confirmed that there had been a meeting with the department. There had still been vacancies for markers, and they would be selected via a selection committee.
Meanwhile, this year’s matric exams have been scheduled to conclude on December 1, with marking expected to take place between December 7 and 14. Results are expected to be released on January 5.
Grant said candidates who were feeling anxious and stressed could call the department’s Safe Schools call centre for support at 080 045 4647.
Principals and their staff would also be on the lookout for anyone needing special support, while parents could contact their child’s principal if a candidate needed support.
School psychologists and social workers would be on standby, he said.