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After COVID-19-hit academic year, matrics set to begin final exams this week

It has been an academic year like no other for pupils, who were forced to contend with a global pandemic that saw schooling disrupted and government often scrambling to salvage the situation.

© smolaw11/123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - About 1.1 million matriculants will begin one of the most important weeks in their academic career when they sit for combined national senior certificate exams this week.

On Thursday, matrics will kick off the combined examinations with English Paper One.

It has been an academic year like no other for pupils, who were forced to contend with a global pandemic that saw schooling disrupted and government often scrambling to salvage the situation.

Adapting to new methods of learning is what many pupils have had to endure.

Kayleigh Gideon, a deputy head girl from Glendale High School in Mitchells Plain, found it hard to adjust.

"I told myself I’m not going to make it, the pressure is too much. I don’t know how to do this work. At first, I didn’t know how to adjust. Now I’m pretty much comfortable."

Other stresses did not help the already tough situation.

"Dad was left without a job. No source of income, and Tafelsig wasn’t really the ideal place to be in, because of gangsterism."

Seeing a drop in her marks affected her morale and Gideon has leaned on study groups and additional resources to ensure that she’s ready for the upcoming exams.

"I feel kind of good about this final exam, I’m going to give it my best shot. I’m just going to trust in the Lord."

Exams start Thursday, 5 November and conclude on 15 December.

Jessica Wasserman is an educational psychologist who specialises in trauma associated with learning.

She said that matric exams already came with a lot of pressure and pupils will need a lot of support.

"What the need now is connection, so as parents, as caregivers, we need to start to connect with them from the bottom up, so check in with them and see that their sleep is regulated, eating is regulated, get their basic needs met."

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