Recently Department of Basic Education (DBE) Minister, Angie Motshekga, declared an official countdown to the start of the 2020 Matric exams. This countdown also comes with the news that 1 058 699 South African students will be writing these papers.

This volume of students will be the largest public examination that has ever been seen in the country.

The countdown to the exams is just over a month with the start slated for 5th November, and a planned end date of 15th December.

As we covered when the exam dates were announced, the DBE plans to have the million plus results completed by 22nd January 2021. With the news that so many students will be writing, it will be quite the crunch period between the end of the exam period the issuing of results.

Delays could be disastrous given that higher education institutions should start their first semesters of 2021 soon after, and new students to them would require their results before properly enrolling.

The late start to the exams is, of course, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the interruptions it has caused to the school year. The South African lockdowns intended to halt the spread of coronavirus also meant that schools were closed when they should have been opened for large portions of 2020.

As for the safety of the exams and those involved in writing and distributing them, measures are in place:

“A protocol, to ensure compliance with COVID-19 rules, has been developed and distributed to guide all the chief invigilators, invigilators and all other officials involved in the management of the conduct and administration of the examination. All Provincial Education Departments have secured the extra rooms at existing examination centres, which are needed for the writing of the combined 2020 November Grade 12 examinations,” reads a statement from the official SA News site, published by the Department of Communications.

For now all students can do is keep studying despite everything going on in the world. We can only hope that the Matric exams continue without incident once 5th November rolls around.

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