Suggested amendments to examinations and curriculum

The Department of Basic Education has come up with a schedule to compensate for lost teaching time so far during the year. It has also made provision for potential curriculum changes for the rest of the year.

A framework has been compiled by the department and was revealed during a parliamentary presentation last week. Pupils have already had much of their learning disrupted during on-and off school closures.

The parliamentary presentation suggests curriculum reorganisation and trimming and a revised school calendar and also examines a reworking of assessment requirements.

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The department has examined three scenarios which may be used, taking into account the amount of teaching time available during the year.

Provision has been made for the possibility of any future school closures, whether they’re nationwide or because a school may have to close if pupils or staff become infected.


Low road: in which significant disruptions have been experienced and 60% or more teaching hours are lost;

Middle road: in which moderate disruptions have been experienced and 30 to 50% of teaching hours are lost; and

High road: in which minimal or no disruptions have happened and less than 30% of teaching hours have been lost.

End-of-year assessments undertaken with the lower grades have also been included in the suggested changes. Proposed changes may also apply to year-end exams and there may also be changes to the calculation process of how the mark from the school-based assessment (SBA) is calculated.

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These proposals are not final and are subject to change.

A amended school examination table

However, as it stands, the recommendations are as follows:

  • The SBA for the Foundation (Grades R to 3) phase will stay at 100%, but the final mark will be calculation from assessments completed in the first three terms;
  • THE SBA in Grades 4 to 9 will account for 80% of the final mark;
  • The school-based end-of-year test in Grades 4 to 9 will carry a weighting of 20%; and
  • Reports will only be presented at the end of Term 3 and Term 4. These will be calculated on summative (evaluating student learning, skill acquisition, and academic achievement) and formative evidence.

Grades 10 to 11 final exams

  • Final promotional exams should be replaced with a school-based, formal final test;
  • Common tests or examinations, even if given at district level, should be discouraged;
  • A ratio of 80:20 should be used (80% School Based Assessment to 20% final class test;
  • With Grade 11s, final class tests can be limited to elective subjects and examinations conducted only on fundamental subjects (Mathematics/Mathematical Literacy/Language of Learning and Teaching and Home Language); and

Life Orientation, although considered fundamental, could be assessed in a formal class test.

Final exams Grade 12

Angie Motshekga has made it clear that no trimming will be made to the final matric examinations. The results will, however, be released later than usual.

The dates, times, marking and announcements will be as follows:

  • All schools to write a trial examination from September, ending no later than the first week in October;
  • Life Orientation common assessment task to be completed on October 19; 
  • Final examinations to take place from November 5 to December 15 2020;
  • Marking will take place between January 4 2021 to January 22, 2021; and

Ministerial announcements of the results will occur in February 2021. The release by schools or via MEC announcements will take place on February 3, 2021.