Pretoria - The countdown has begun to this year's matric examinations as thousands of Grade 12 learners sit for their first paper on Monday.
The Department of Basic Education says it is ready for the 581 573 full time candidates who are expected to sit for the exams including an additional 38 595 learners who will be writing as repeat candidates.
Speaking to BuaNews on Saturday, the department's spokesperson Hope Mokgatlhe said Minister Angie Motshekga has received a brief from all nine provinces and it was all systems go for this year's exams.
"They all indicated that all the necessary checks have been done so we should be ready," Mokgatlhe said. She said suspects who linked to the leaked exam papers in Mpumalanga had all appeared in court. They include teachers and learners. Mokgatlhe said the department's regulatory committee will decide on the matter.
Learners will write 197 papers, starting with a two-hour paper on German, Portuguese, and Hebrew, first and second additional languages as well as an Electronic Technology. The 197 papers will be marked by more than 30 000 markers. This means that around 12 million marks will be captured during the entire process, said the department.
One of those learners Mashudu Nebato, a Grade 12 learner at Trinity Secondary School in Lenasia said while she was ready for the exams, she was battling to overcome the fear of not knowing what to expect. "I am ready but at the same time very scared; I don't know that to expect that is my biggest concern," said the learner.
Her only plea was for the authorities to tighten security during the exams.
On Friday, Motshekga assured the country that the 2009 Senior Certificate Examinations would be credible. This after media reports indicated that exam papers were leaked in some province's ahead of Monday's exams. "I also have two kids in matric and I am as concerned as any parent. But I can assure the nation that there is no risk [to] the credibility of the examination for the class of 2009," Motshekga said.