UMALUSI believes rolling blackouts across South Africa due to load shedding may have a negative impact on the 2021 matric results.
Grade 12 pupils are in the process of writing National Senior Certificate exams and currently have to contend with stage 2 load shedding throughout this week, until 5am on Saturday.
This after Eskom implemented Stage 4 load shedding expected to last until Friday morning while Stage 2 blackouts will be implemented until five o’clock on Saturday morning.
Speaking to NewzroomAfrika, Umalusi CEO Mafu Rakometsi said load shedding would affect the quality of the exams as well as the results.
“Load shedding will negatively impact on the results. If students are not able to study adequately, then that is a problem,” said Rakometsi.
“I want to say that people are not equally sighted in terms of how they can see and immediately you have to write in a dark room. That situation is going to affect the students differently. [They] might struggle to go through the question papers and struggle to write because they are writing in a room that [isn’t] well lit.”
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said 15% of matric exam centres in the province have been affected by blackouts.
Lesufi said while the department was prepared for the blackouts, if it continued, matric results could be badly affected.
“I can say 15% of our examination centres have been affected because it comes and goes at different times, we’ve got papers in the morning, we also have papers in the afternoon,” said Lesufi.
“So it has affected us but as I said we’ve incorporated it, but the sooner we get past this stage of load shedding the better because it will generally affect the outcome of the results.”
Public Servants Association (PSA) in KwaZulu-Natal has called on government to deal with the load shedding crisis.
The Department of Basic Education said on Monday it had contingency plans in place to ensure the latest bout of rolling blackouts won’t impact the matric exams.
The department’s spokesperson Hope Mokgatlhe told Jacaranda FM news that there’s a plan B should load shedding disrupt exams.
“What we have said as the department and we always say so that the nation and the parents can be at ease, is that if it happens that learners cannot write because of a power outage, we have backup papers. We are talking about grade 12 here, in fact, all grades that are writing exams now- we have backup papers all the time,” said Mokgatle.
“So we want the nation and parents to know that as the department, our plan B is that if it happens that learners cannot write because of something we cannot control like a power outage, they will write at another time. We will have a backup paper so they will not be disadvantaged because as the department and as the government we work together knowing that there are things that we cannot really foresee.”
* Inside Education