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Media Release

25 November 2007

Floods mark final matric exam for 2007

Statement by Brian Schreuder, Deputy Director-General: Curriculum Management, Western Cape Education Department (WCED)

Floods did not deter candidates, assisted by parents, volunteers and officials of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), from completing the final matric examination in the southern Cape on Friday (23 November 2007).

WCED officials worked hard to account for every candidate who had to write the examination.

In the end, only one candidate could not make it because of the floods, which cut off her family's farm between Reenendal and Karatara, near Knysna. She was a learner at Knysna Secondary School.

The WCED arranged with the police to provide a helicopter to airlift her to the examination centre in Knysna. However, we were advised that a helicopter could not land because of dense bush.

The WCED contacted Ms Jacobs on Friday to discuss alternatives. These include writing supplementary examinations in May and June 2008, or applying for a calculated mark based on her English Paper 1 result and her year mark.

Ms Jacobs seemed happy with a calculated mark. She said she needed to submit her results to a Bible college in Bloemfontein where she plans to study next year.

We will only consider applying for a calculated mark to Umalusi because a natural disaster made it impossible for Ms Jacobs to reach her examination centre on time. Umalusi is the official body responsible for certifying examination results.

The WCED established an alternative venue in Knysna on Thursday when it seemed likely that candidates might not be able to reach Wittedrif because of the floods.

The prediction proved correct. Parents, farmers, the police and the National Sea Rescue Institute assembled a convoy of 4x4s to bring the sealed packages of papers to Knysna, via circuitous routes.

Floodwaters closed the N2, which made it difficult for candidates living in Sedgefield, especially on Sedgefield Island, to reach Knysna. Once again, volunteers in 4x4s managed to bring candidates to the venue.

The WCED initially could not account for one candidate from Sedgefield Island, but eventually learned that parents had managed to bring the candidate to the venue in Knysna.

The WCED is grateful to the learners, their parents and all volunteers who showed such determination to write this examination. The examination has been a success, despite the floods, thanks to all concerned.

Inquiries: telephone Brian Schreuder at 082-373-5989

Issued by:
Paddy Attwell
Director: Communication
Western Cape Education Department
Tel: 021 467 2531
Fax: 021 461 3694
Email: pattwell@pgwc.gov.za

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2007 WCED