With two days left until the nationwide marking of Grade 12 examination papers gets underway, the Eastern Cape education department has had to send 74 markers home after they tested positive for Covid-19.
This was announced by Education MEC Fundile Gade during an inspection at the Byletts Combined School marking centre outside East London on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Gade kick-started his planned weeklong visit to some of the 24 marking centres in the province.
“During the course of the arrival of the markers, there are a few that have been identified to be positive and, of course progressively, they had been advised to go back home and were thanked for the commitment they have displayed, but for the safety of those that are here and for the observation of the protocols of health department, they [markers] had to be released,” he said.
A total of 5 323 markers have been hired by the Eastern Cape education department to mark 131 000 Grade 12 scripts at 24 centres.
Nationwide, 45 000 matric exam markers will mark 14 million scripts in 181 marking centres across the country. Marking is expected to end on 22 January, and matric results will be released on 23 February.
This comes as Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga published a list of Covid-19 protocols that will be implemented at marking centres.
These include screening at the entrance to every marking centre, and placing those exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms in an isolation room.
On the readiness of the marking centres, Gade said: “We have seen the top management of the centres and we are comfortable with the process, as well as preparations and proceedings.”
National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa’s CEO in the Eastern Cape Loyiso Mbinda said that so far, the union is happy with Covid-19 protocols.
Gade’s spokesperson Vuyiseka Mboxela said the department would find replacements before the start of marking papers on Thursday.
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