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The marking of matric papers got underway across the country at 180 marking centres, where 45 000 examination markers will be toiling away over the next few weeks.

Refilwe Moloto talks to Millicent Merton of the Western Cape Education Department to find out how day one went in the Western Cape, especially given the need for stringent safety protocol in a province where many areas have been declared as hotspots for Covid-19.

The first day went very well. The Director-General of the Department of Basic Education visited various marking centres in the Western Cape to also monitor compliance.

Millicent Merton, Deputy Director: Communication - ‎Western Cape Education Department

Merton agrees it is a massive undertaking and the department appreciates the contribution of all involved in the marking of the papers.

The feeling among the markers themselves was that they are very upbeat and ready for this challenge.

Millicent Merton, Deputy Director: Communication - ‎Western Cape Education Department

She says the training of markers took place on Sunday and Monday and the main marking period begins on Tuesday until 21 January.

Then, of course, the results will be released in February.

Millicent Merton, Deputy Director: Communication - ‎Western Cape Education Department

She says the higher education institutions are aware of the timeframes involved as it may impact enrollments.

Everybody has plans in place and they have made provision for that.

Millicent Merton, Deputy Director: Communication - ‎Western Cape Education Department

How would this affect students who fail to pass matric but only now their results in February after the school year has begun?

Candidates do have the opportunity to register for the supplementary exams so they can rewrite. Of course, it will delay their plans. They won't be able to study immediately because they will have to wait for the results of the rewrite.

Millicent Merton, Deputy Director: Communication - ‎Western Cape Education Department

Students are also entitled to ask for a remark of their scripts and may embark on that process which will take additional time, she adds, and this happens every year.

Usually, these students do not join the full new matric class as they only need to redo a few subjects, she explains.

Listen to the interview below:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Matric exam paper marking is underway, results to be released in February

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