In a last-gasp push to improve the matric pass rate, support programmes for grade 12 pupils will continue until the day before the last exam paper is written.
A total of 735,677 full-time matric candidates have registered to write the National Senior Certificate exams, an increase of 128,000 from last year.
The exams, which officially start on 27 October and end on 7 December, will be written at over 11,000 exam centers, including 6,326 for public schools and 4,130 for part-time candidates.
Though the weeklong spring camps, which started last Monday, were wrapped up on Friday, provinces will be offering last push enrichment programmes.
In Limpopo’s Waterberg education district, a camp for pupils at risk will be held at Jubaweni from October 13-25, while one for gifted pupils will be held from October 20-25 at the same venue.
Limpopo education department spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene confirmed that a programme for 300 gifted pupils from the Sekhukhune East education district will take place at St Peters Secondary in Sekhukhune from Monday to Friday.
The Kagiso Trust has funded three camps for 600 pupils from Monday to Friday, while the Mogalakwena education district will host a maths and science camp for 200 pupils from October 21-26 at Mokopane.
Chuene said subject advisers will also be teaching 5,000 pupils from selected “large-enrolled” schools from Monday until October 19.
North West education department spokesperson Elias Malindi said 32,968 matrics were taught during the five-day spring camp that ended on Friday.
“Only content subjects were targeted and each learner was offered a maximum of four subjects for two hours a day.”
Western Cape education department spokesperson Millicent Merton said pupils in eight education districts attended extra classes as part of the spring camp. Subjects taught included English, Afrikaans, maths, physical science, life sciences and accounting.
Mpumalanga education department spokesperson Jasper Zwane confirmed to Sunday Times Daily that 22,241 pupils attended last week’s spring classes at 120 centres, targeting 194 schools that achieved below 70% in last year’s exams.
He said the department set aside R28.2m for food and transport for pupils attending classes, as well as compensation for teachers involved in the spring camp.
The Northern Cape introduced “weekend lock-in” classes for identified weaker pupils which finished on Saturday. Spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said in a statement that the March test results were used to identify pupils who needed support at 97 underperforming schools in the province.
He said 165 tutors, 98 supervisors and 46 security personnel were appointed for the residential centres.
Cheryl Weston, director for curriculum in the department of basic education, told a media briefing on Friday that since the start of the academic year, all provinces launched “high-intensity support programmes” which included the provision of study guides, exam question papers, revision notes, extra classes and both online and face-to-face teaching during the early mornings and afternoons.
“In a number of schools we found that the normal school day ended at 5pm.”
She said the holiday classes, which were the largest intervention in the sector to provide support, “ensured that the class of 2021, on average, received an additional 20 days of teaching for at least six to eight hours per day in at least three to four subjects per learner”.
“We are ramping up our support with the implementation of final push support plans. These include dedicated examination and revision classes and learning camps to walk learners into the exam room.”
Weston said the support programme for the class of 2021 will only end on December 6, a day before the final paper is written.
Marking of matric papers is scheduled to be completed by December 22, and basic education minister Angie Motshekga will announce the results on January 20 2022.