Scrapping of grade 10, 11 final exams must apply to all grades, say unions

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The Department of Basic Education announced that it was replacing the exams for grades 10 and 11 with controlled tests due to the trimmed curriculum.

JOHANNESBURG – As final school year exams draw closer, teachers’ unions on Thursday said that the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) decision to scrap exams for grade 10 and 11 pupils was long overdue.

The department announced it was replacing the exams for grades 10 and 11 with controlled tests due to the trimmed curriculum.

However, unions said that the eased method of assessment should apply to all grades given the disruptions to the academic year due to COVID-19.

The DBE said that the loss of teaching time and the closure of schools under the hard lockdown period resulted in the non-completion of the curriculum.

Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said that more teaching time would be allocated next year to help pupils catch up with the syllabus.

“A decision has been taken to put in place controlled tests, which is going to serve as a formal assessment. It is going to be done only on work which the learners would have been taught,” Mhlanga said.

However, the South African Democratic Teachers Union’s (Sadtu) general secretary, Mugwena Maluleke, said they were urging the DBE to re-evaluate its assessment methods.

“The unions have always been saying to the department that we are supposed to allow teachers to use their own professional judgement in terms of what is to be assessed and how it is to be assessed,” Maluleke said.

The National Teachers Union’s (Natu) president, Allen Thompson, said that the same measure should be taken for matric pupils.

Final exams for all grades are scheduled to begin on 5 November and end on 15 December.

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