Cyril salutes Class of 2020 and their teachers ahead of matric exams

President Cyril Ramaphosa Date: October 15, 2020.
President Cyril Ramaphosa Date: October 15, 2020.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES

President Cyril Ramaphosa has commended the bravery of the Class of 2020 who had to endure the mental strain of social isolation and, for many months, being cut off from friends and their teachers as a result of the  Covid-19 national lockdown.

Ramaphosa issued a statement three days before 1,058,699 candidates sit for their national senior certificate (NSC) final examinations.

Ramaphosa said this year’s exams will be written under unprecedented conditions as the country is in the midst of a global pandemic.

“The nationwide lockdown we had to impose in March to contain the spread of the coronavirus caused immense disruption to everyday life and cost valuable hours of learning and study. They [grade 12s] had to adapt in real time not just to finish the curriculum but to catch up with the learning hours lost.

“Though some had access to online learning platforms and other resources, many had to struggle with access to learning material and teaching. They were not able to participate in sporting, recreational and leisure activities that are so essential to a well-rounded life and that relieve the stresses of prolonged study,” Ramaphosa said.

He said it had been equally difficult for educators as despite the risk posed by the virus and resource challenges inside schools, the majority of teachers heeded the call to return to school to salvage what was left of the academic year.  

“They presented for work every day to support our matriculants. They put in the extra hours to get our learners over the finish line, making the most of the resources they had to ensure learning continued. I salute our educators who have been there for their students when they were needed most. They have given so much, personally and professionally. They put our learners first and in doing so affirmed once more that our teachers are among our finest public servants,” Ramaphosa said.

Meanwhile the department of basic education has urged South Africans to rally behind the matric class of 2020.

Minister of basic education Angie Motshekga said it should be noted that despite the abnormal context, the Class of 2020 will be subjected to the same high quality examination that previous cohorts were.

“The state of readiness to write the 2020 examinations is predicated on a number of factors beyond the normal indicators of system readiness. The sector has had to double its efforts to ensure that the Class of 2020, despite the disruptions of the academic year, are fully prepared for this examination,” Motshekga said.

She said due to the unprecedented loss of academic time as a result of Covid-19, measures such as the provision of supplementary material, vocation classes, after-school programmes, teacher content training as well as alternative ways of grouping and teaching of pupils were put in place.

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