'Anxious but positive': Matrics of 2021 set for final exams after difficult year

The class of 2021 is the second group of grade 12s that will sit for their finals during the pandemic and officials have promised tighter controls after two exam papers were leaked last year.

FILE: Matric pupils writing exams. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The country's almost 900,000 matriculants are heading into their final National Senior Certificate exams on Wednesday morning and some have told Eyewitness News that they were feeling "anxious but positive".

They'll kickstart the National Senior Certificate exams with an English paper.

The class of 2021 is the second group of grade 12s that will sit for their finals during the pandemic and officials have promised tighter controls after two exam papers were leaked last year.

Suaad Seboa is giving it another try after she was unsuccessful in her exams last year.

The 21-year-old believes that this was a minor setback in her plans and she will be rewriting one the subjects she failed in 2020.

Seboa admits to struggling with adjusting to the new methods of learning due to COVID-19.

"I'm the type of student that needs to be in a certain type of environment, so if I'm not in a schooling environment, my routine is completely off, so it was very difficult for me to cope at home because the environment is completely different to the environment you'd be in if you were at school."

Dillon Ely (18) is a matriculant at Athlone High School.

Like Seboa, this year has been tough for him but he's optimistic.

"I'm feeling great and a bit stressed because this year has been rough due to COVID. School is not like it always used to be. Matriculants went to school every day but for example, if you're in grade 11, you don't go every day and you need to prepare for grade 12 and it's maybe one or two days in the week that you go to school."

The constant adjustments that matriculants have had to make have prompted calls for more support for them as they navigate some of the toughest times in their schooling careers.

The Basic Education Department said that it was better prepared for the matric final exams this year as a result of lessons learned from 2020.

Deputy Basic Education Minister Dr Reginah Mhaule discussed their readiness plans.

"With the lesson learned from last year, we are more than ready, we are prepared - all the schools prepared centres for isolation so if they discover that a learner is positive, that a leaner will not be disadvantaged to write the examination."

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