KZN Education Dept slammed for preventing some matriculants from writing exams

The policy empowers districts and schools to prohibit certain progressed learners from writing final matric examinations in their grade 12 year.

FILE: Under the modularisation policy, education officials can decide for some pupils to take their examination in the following June after their matric year. Picture: Supplied.

DURBAN - Pupils and parents in KwaZulu-Natal have on Monday raised issues with the Education Department's modularisation policy.

The policy empowers districts and schools to prohibit certain progressed learners from writing final matric examinations in their grade 12 year.

Instead, they will write in June the following year.

Eyewitness News spoke to parents and pupils who accused education officials of trying to increase the matric pass rate at their expense, but officials have denied this.

Under the modularisation policy, education officials can decide for some pupils to take their examination in the following June after their matric year.

Babongile Chiliza of the class of 2019 at Adams College was among those who were stopped from writing all their examinations last year due to the policy.

She said she felt victimised: “This kind of treatment did not really sit well with me, because it actually made me look like I was someone who was a failure. Someone who didn’t really know what her goal was.”

Thoko Ndlovu, a pensioner whose grandson Thabiso also could not write all his examinations, said she was now left distressed as she could not afford the extra classes he needs to prepare for his exams in June.

“I want him to study so we can get his matric certificate, but I don’t have the means to help him achieve this.”

With an over 80% pass rate announced for the class of 2019 two weeks ago, thousands of learners like Ndlovu and Chiliza were not included.

However, the department’s Barney Mthembu said the policy was originally created to decrease pressure on pupils during examinations by extending the timeframe in which they can write exams.

“The results are not showing good performance for them or even for those who are supplementing. So, nationally we are worried, we are not happy.”

Mthembu said due to the policy’s unpopularity and failure to achieve the desired outcome, it was being reviewed at a national level and may be phased out in the foreseeable future.