The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education has commended the Department of Basic Education for the work done to ensure that Grade 12 learners are ready for the upcoming National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination next week.
The NSC examination, to be written under COVID-19 regulations, is due to commence on 5 November and conclude on 15 December 2020. The results are expected to be released on 23 February 2021.
Committee chairperson, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, said a lot of work was done in the background to ensure Grade 12s are ready to sit for the final examinations.
“We further note that 1 058 699 candidates have registered for the exams. This includes full-time and part-time candidates, as well as those candidates who were supposed to have written examinations in June this year, which were cancelled due to the outbreak of COVID-19. This is a mammoth task,” Mbinqo-Gigaba said on Tuesday.
She said during a portfolio meeting, the committee was assured by the Department of Basic Education and the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) that the class of 2020 covered the full spectrum of the curriculum.
“This means that this class will be just as equipped to enter the world after school, as any other Grade 12 before them,” Mbinqo-Gigaba said.
Dwindling number of candidates registering for mathematics
The committee has, however, raised concerns regarding the dwindling number of candidates registering for mathematics, opting instead for mathematical literacy.
“It looks like our learners are running away from this. However, it then becomes difficult when they want to register for certain programmes at institutions of higher learning.
“The department said in response that the introduction of technical mathematics and technical physical science has contributed to lower registration rates for pure mathematics,” Mbinqo-Gigaba said.
Additional markers employed
The committee also heard that most provincial education departments (PEDs) have employed additional markers and invigilators, and acquired extra marking centres to cope with the higher number of candidates sitting for the examinations.
Umalusi informed the meeting that it has evaluated the department and PEDs’ states of readiness. Umalusi was also able to engage with the reports and evidence presented by the department and PEDs.
“Extreme effort was made by the department and the PEDs in relation to the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak. Acceptable levels of readiness and related measures are in place to ensure the conduct of credible examinations by the department and PEDs. This is appreciated.
“Based on our observation and the reports on the state of readiness, Umalusi is satisfied that the department, through the nine PEDs, is ready to conduct the merged June and November 2020 examinations,” Umalusi assured the committee.
Mbinqo-Gigaba said the committee will closely monitor the examinations.
“We cannot but commend the department, PEDs and the education sector for the hard work they have done during extremely difficult times.”
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