Last year’s matric exam marking had its challenges. There were markers who had tested positive for Covid-19, but this year, the South African Democratic Teachers Union wants to do things differently this time around.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) proposed to the Department of Education that markers, moderators and other individuals that will be present at the marking sites need to get a PCR test as more than thousands of people gather in these facilities.
“PCR tests won’t be done on markers,” says Western Cape Department of Education Spokesperson, Bronagh Hammond.
During the marking period of the 2020 NSC paper, there were 19 positive cases reported of markers that had tested positive (out of approximately 3 340 markers in total).
Hammond said these were isolated cases and it did not result in further spreading.
SADTU General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke said they have learnt their lesson last year and are better prepared for this year’s marking.
Maluleke proposed that the government medical aid, GEMS, be the ones conducting and paying for these tests.
The union also suggested for testing sites to be erected in the marking sites.
This will help establish the following:
- Decelerate the spread of the Omnicron Variant
- Protect families and communities.
- Making it easier to have a tracking and tracing system.
“47 531 education sector staff members were vaccinated in our province as part of the Basic Education sector rollout earlier this year. The numbers of those that were vaccinated over and above this in their personal capacity is not yet known,” said Hammond.
More than 84% of teachers are vaccinated as marking begins for matric papers, said SADTU.
Department of Basic Education Head of Communications, Elijah Mhlanga said that strict Covid-19 protocols have been put in place, with 15 markers being allowed in a room at a time.
This is a slight decrease from the previous year, which saw 25 markers being allowed in a room.
The Department of Basic Education is working with the Department of Health to ensure that all marking centres comply with the Health and Safety Protocols and deal with emergencies.
Health professionals have been allocated for each marking centre.
The Provincial Education Departments has collaborated with Eskom and Local Municipalities in terms of making sure that power supply to these centres remains uninterrupted.