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More than 200 prisoners to write matric exams this year

Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer has warned matrics against cheating. File photo.
Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer has warned matrics against cheating. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Die Burger/Jaco Marais

The department of correctional services (DCS) has expressed confidence in the 211 prisoners who will be writing their matric exams this year, saying although this cohort has faced challenges, they were ready.

“In spite of the challenges brought by Covid-19, the DCS is satisfied with the level of preparations and the support provided to the pupils. Access to education remains the pillar of rehabilitation and formal education ensures offenders remain focused amid their circumstances as they strive for new beginnings,” the department said.

Acting commissioner Makgothi Thobakgale praised the department’s teachers who had to put in extra support classes, saying this hard work will show in the results.

“Working together with the department of basic education, the DCS can guarantee yet another credible examination process as all examination centres will be invigilated as per the rules governing exam procedures,” Thobakgale said.

Some inmates have started writing their exams with the first paper, computer applications technology (CAT), written a week ago.

Thobakgale wished them well, saying the CAT module was important.

“This subject provides incarcerated pupils with relevant technological skills for the labour market — a critical subject as it assists inmates to understand concepts of information communication technology in the make-up of a computing system, as well as the technologies, standards and protocols involved in the electronic transmission of data via a computer-based network.”

A total of 14 formal schools and two private schools in partnership with the department will be used as exam centres.

Thobakgale stressed education was key in the rehabilitation of offenders.

“Education is regarded as an essential component of the reconstruction, development and transformation of SA society. Hence, formal education in the DCS cannot only respond to the rehabilitation needs of inmates but be viewed as a tool that can radically transform our society and advance the development of the country.”