Progressed learners pressured to split matric exams – FS Education

The Free State Education Department pleads with schools and educators in the province to desist from coercing academically vulnerable students to split their final matric examination into two parts, written six months apart.

The Multiple Examination Opportunity (MEO), which will be phased out in 2020, was created with the intention of ensuring that average students who were progressed to grade 12 after repeating grade 11 more than once, would be able to split the final matric examinations into two parts.

The department’s spokesperson, Howard Ndaba, says they have received a few complaints from frustrated learners and parents who allege schools and teachers are pressurising learners to opt for the Multiple Examination Opportunity.

One cannot discuss the Multiple Examination Opportunity (MEO) without exploring the controversial progressed learners’ policy which came into effect in 2015. Teachers’ unions have been highly critical of the progressed learners’ policy, calling for it to be scrapped. The unions are of the view the policy demoralises educators, who do not receive the necessary support from the department to prepare these vulnerable students for their matric examinations. This explains why teachers may be inclined to force students to make use of the MEO.

The department plans on doing away with the MEO in 2020, alleging schools are misusing it as a gatekeeping tool.

The 2018 final matric results released in early January 2019, reveal out of the 128 634 pupils who were progressed to grade 12, despite failing grade 11 in 2017, only 33 412 sat for their final matric examinations in late 2018. Of those who wrote, more than 20 000 passed and close to 3 000 received bachelor’s passes.