JOHANNESBURG - It has been a difficult year for the education sector and things could become even more difficult in 2021, as some teachers continue to lose their lives to COVID-19.
Director-General of the Department of Basic Education, Mathanzima Mweli said, "we are gravely concerned about this. It is impacting negatively, not only on marking, but we are even more worried about services of teaching and learning that we require that these men and women provide in the system."
Meanwhile, teacher unions are concerned about compliance at marking centres.
Basil Manuel, Executive Director of Naptosa said, "We have already directed a letter to the DG and head of exams to ask that we put out a communique to reassure our people of all the safety protocols at the exam centers. This is also a wakeup call for the department, they must ensure there are safety measures for all who are out to do this duty."
The Professional Educators' Union's Ben Machipi said, "let all venues be COVID-19 compliant. All protocols must be in place. We have a report that this will be the case."
The Basic Education Department has visited marking centres in three provinces and said it is satisfied with the safety measures in place.
Mweli said, "in all instances, we also had sanitisers as you enter the room. In strategic points, if not at each and every table of each marker, you would find a bottle of sanitiser as well."
"There is no medical reason or any literature that would suggest any danger so far for schools to reopen. In fact, the evidence continues to prove that learners are safer at school than in their communities."
Marking of the matric exams starts on 4 January.