Pretoria - Almost 600 000 matriculants will begin writing their Senior Certificate Examinations today, beginning with language and Electronic Technology papers.
The Department of Basic Education has confirmed that it is all system go and that all provinces have reported they are ready and well prepared.
"Schools and learners are prepared for the first paper. No incidents have been reported regarding today's paper and the Minister is happy," ministerial spokesperson Hope Mokgatlhe told BuaNews on Monday.
She added that the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, was pleased with the preparedness of all nine provinces.
The minister on Friday wished the 2009 matriculants well, urging them to ensure they were well prepared for their exams.
"I want to wish you well with your examinations. I hope that you will work hard and do your best. You are always in my thoughts and prayers as you prepare for your examinations," she said.
A total of 581 573 full time candidates and 38 595 repeat candidates will write 197 papers that will be marked by more than 30 000 markers during the exams.
This is the second year matrics are writing exams based on the National Curriculum Statement (NCS), the phasing in of which was completed last year.
With the NSC, there is no longer Higher and Standard Grades, only one grade of examination paper is set and all learners must choose either mathematics or mathematical literacy. All learners must also take Life Orientation which is assessed internally.
The matric results will be released on 7 January 2010, instead of December, to allow more time to verify and check all results before they are released.