Over 350,000 matriculants began writing their mid-year examinations on Thursday, the 3rd of May. This exam was the first of its kind as the new timetable merges the February/March Supplementary exam and the May/June Senior Certificate examination.
The Department of Basic Education has done away with supplementary exams and replaced them with a second national exam, giving students an opportunity to better their results. The new system will save the department money and give pupils more time to prepare for their examination.
Basic Education Department Spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, says the new timetable gives those who want to re-write their subjects enough time to prepare. He indicates that the positive thing about this new exam is that it is not only limited to two subjects, as the learner can re-write as many subjects they want.
Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, floated the plan as early as 2016, saying the department would implement changes to the supplementary exam system in 2017. At a media briefing in January 2016, the Minister announced that the rewrites are too early in the year and the pass rates too low.
Mhlanga discerned that the decision was taken for a number of reasons, including low registration of people who qualify for supplementary exams and low attendance of those who have registered. The low turnout results in large financial losses for the department.