Pretoria - The Eastern Cape Department of Education has launched a social support programme to help matriculants manage their stress levels during the examination period.
Department spokesperson, Loyiso Pulumani, said with potential future careers having been provisionally decided and high family expectations, learners often find exam time "very stressful".
He said that although the trial examinations may have been met with positive views by some learners, for others, it may have been a starting point to measure the pressure of what is to come.
"In this respect, it then doesn't matter whether the learner has been doing well or not, exam time is bound to bring stress whether good or bad.
"It is the bad stress that is the cause for concern and needs to be held in check, hence the introduction of the social support services," Pulumani said.
He also added that this was part of the department's efforts to ensure that learners remain focused on their studies and to prevent bad consequences like suicides that were normally associated with failure to achieve the expected results.
Pulumani called on all provincial Grade 12 learners, who are due to write their final examination, to seek psychological assistance at the specified points in their respective districts as the department would avail them to support learners.
"These officials will include learning support coordinators, remedial advisors, therapists and psychologists who will offer their support to learners free of charge," he said, adding that the services would also be extended to learners' family members, should such a need arise.
Learners can get more information from their respective schools about the support programme.
The matric exams will start on 26 October to 4 December 2009 and the results will be released on 7 January 2010.
Pulumani noted that the support services would also be available during the exams and after the results have been released.