COVID-19 disrupts first day of JC finals

Private registered students turned back at exam centre as social distancing causes spillover


FRANCISTOWN: Junior Certificate (JC) final examinations for private students got off to a nervous start when venues were changed at the eleventh hour, The Botswana Gazette has established.
Scores of students sitting for the exams in Botswana’s second city almost missed their first English Paper Four. This publication has established that students only found out about the change of venue in the morning when they arrived at Lekgaba Hill Primary School that they knew to be the venue but were turned back and told to go to Ikhutseng Primary School, Modisa Yo’ Molemo Parish Church and Phatlogo Primary School.
Because time had to be adjusted to accommodate the delay incurred, the English paper that was scheduled to start at 8am began at 9am while the Setswana paper initially scheduled for 2pm started at 3pm.
“We had to travel long distances to get to the new venues,” said one student. “Mind you some of us did not have money for taxis and had to walk. Luckily the first paper was delayed by an hour.”
The Botswana Gazette can confirm that Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) had sent texted messages to students informing them about the change of exam venues. However, some students say they did not receive the message, others claim to have received it late while some yet say they only found out about the change of venue when they arrived at places initially designated as exam centres.
A spokesperson for BEC, Fingile Makgalemele, has told this publication that Lekgaba Primary School, which was the main centre, experienced a spillover due to observation of the COVID-19 protocol of social distancing, prompting a transfer of some candidates to new venues.
“We registered private students before COVID-19 protocols, hence the spillover,” Makgalemele explained. “But I am happy that all students managed to write their papers.”