Load-shedding causes chaos for matric IT exams

The Department of Basic Education has released a statement regarding the recent return of load-shedding and its effect on matric exams around the country.

“The Department of Basic Education has noted Eskom’s announcement regarding the disruptions to the supply of electricity,” the department said.

Unfortunately, the sudden implementation of load-shedding clashed with the most power-dependent matric exams on the calendar: Computer Applications Technology (CAT) and Information Technology (IT).

“The announcement is extremely unfortunate as it coincides with the start of the matric exams and the subjects (Computer Applications Technology and Information Technology) that need power are being written,” the department said.

“The extent of the impact has not been established as yet because we are waiting for provinces to report. We will provide an update at a later stage.”

The department added that it is looking into engaging with Eskom to alert them to the negative effect power cuts may have on national exams.

“We, however, have a backup exam which can be scheduled if there are candidates who are not able to write this exam,” it said.

“Contingency plans are always put in place to accommodate situations of this nature.”

Caught by surprise

The Western Cape Education Department has also delivered an update regarding the effect of load-shedding on the IT and CAT exams in the province.

The department said it was “informed at the last minute that load-shedding was to take place”, adding that it immediately began implementing existing protocols for power outages at exam venues across various districts.

“Today, 8,960 learners wrote the CAT examination at 274 centres. Tomorrow, there are 939 learners registered to do the Information Technology examination at 83 centres.”

The department said that it was currently aware of around 30 exam centres being affected.

Exams during load-shedding

In these centres where matric students were writing IT and CAT exams and the power went out, special protocols would have been implemented to ensure the completion of the exam.

Under these protocols, no learner is allowed to leave the examination venue should the electricity cut out.

“Learners that had already begun the exam, will continue with where they left off once the electricity comes back on,” the department said.

“There is an automatic save function so that learners do not lose the work already completed in event of an electrical shortage or malfunctioning.”

This means that during stage 2 load-shedding, which was implemented today, students may have sat in quarantine for up to four and a half hours while they waited for the power to come back on.

They would have then had to resume their examination after the power was turned back on.

“District staff have been on standby and are assisting schools that have been affected in monitoring the security protocols and the re-starting of the computers once the electricity comes back on,” the department said.

Now read: Eskom load-shedding is here to stay

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Load-shedding causes chaos for matric IT exams