Despite the recent teachers strike and a long mid-year break due to the FIFA World Cup, its all systems go for the final grade 12 examinations to kick off next week.
About 642 691 learners have registered to sit for the exams, which start on 25 October. The Basic Education Department said it was ready as it could be.
"All provincial departments have reported that the necessary administrative systems have been put in place to ensure the smooth running of the 2010 National Senior Certificate examinations," Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, said during the Council of Education Minister (CEM) briefing on Thursday.
"No glitches are expected. The department has done its security checks and all the necessary preparations on its part. We've also done the best we could to prepare learners for the exams."
During the teachers' strike, the department established various contingency plans to support learners. It distributed learner support materials, study guides and made use of the SABC and other media.
"Additional study material has been made available by the department on its website. We advised learners to use the study aids to go along with their current study material to improve their chances of success," Motshekga said.
Speaking to BuaNews, Development Bank of Southern Africa Education Specialist, Graeme Bloch, said the learners were prepared to the best of their ability, but cautioned that the pass rate was expected to be worse than the previous year's figure.
He, however, encouraged learners to give the exams their best shot. "I also encourage the country to rally behind the Class of 2010 and we, as education stakeholders, will support them with study tips," Bloch said.
Head of the School of Education at Wits University, Professor Ruksana Osman, said there was no doubt the disruptions would affect matric's readiness for the forthcoming examinations.
"The disruptions were pretty uneven and will leave the students worse off, in some schools," Osman said, urging students to use the few remaining days wisely.
"Focus on your work, keep your head down and revise."
South African Democratic Teachers' Union spokesperson, Nomusa Cembi, believed that there would not be much difference between this year's pass rate and previous years.
"It is hard to tell whether this year's result will be much worse because even the previous years, they've been declining. The learners should work hard and use the little time they have to study hard," Cembi said. - BuaNews