An alleged third change made to timetables since the start of the exams for the provinces secondary schools was announced in a circular issued last week by the Department of Education and marked “confidential” for the attention of district senior managers and curriculum coordinators right down to secondary school principals and learners.
The circular announced changes to Grade 10 and 11 timetables. This follows earlier reported chaos when Grade 11s arrived to write papers just to be told the sessions were postponed.
Democratic Alliance (DA) Provincial Leader Jacques Smalle last Wednesday issued a media statement in which he called for the immediate suspension of the MEC and Head of the Department (HOD) of Education who, according to Smalle had “blatantly misled the people of Limpopo over the current exam crisis in the province”.
The circular, dated 6 November but issued on Wednesday, 11 November informed that the Grade 10 English paper scheduled to be written on 20 November will be set at provincial level and not at school level as reflected on the amended time table. The Grade 11 Life Sciences first paper scheduled for Thursday, 12 November, should actually have been for the second paper, according to the circular.
The Grade 11 Economics scheduled to be written on 23 November in the afternoon has been rescheduled for 26 November in the afternoon.
The department called a press conference last week Monday to “bring members of the media up to speed with the current status of examinations.”
MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe then informed the media that it was neither unheard of nor unusual for examinations to be rescheduled. He explained that only certain subjects had been rescheduled yet remain within the originally scheduled time frame.
Smalle however said the further rescheduling of exam sessions contradicts the department’s earlier sentiments where it admitted to have experienced ‘unforeseen hiccups’.
“The DA takes exception to media reports which indicate that the MEC insinuated that management and leadership of schools were to blame for the current final exam crisis.
The MEC and HOD have failed to deal with the specific allegations levelled against the department, and instead have shifted the blame back-and-forth to cover up the rot that currently reeks uncontrollably.”
Smalle said the DA was concerned that this ‘confidential’ circular guaranteed neither the stability nor the integrity of Grade 10 and 11 exams.
”We urge Premier Stanley Mathabatha to show the ultimate form of leadership – suspend the MEC and HOD of this troubled department in order to protect and defend the rights of 187 001 Grade 10 learners and 144 026 Grade 11 learners, to a quality education,” he demanded.
Story: NELIE ERASMUS