The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education today received a briefing on the readiness for examinations in 2018 by the Department of Basic Education (DBE).
This includes the state of readiness to administer and manage the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations, which commence on 22 October with foreign languages and on 23 October with English and runs until 28 November 2018.
The committee heard that 796 542 candidates have registered for the NSC examinations across 8 000 examination centres. This includes 629 141 full-time learners and 167 401 part-time candidates. A total of 147 examination question papers for the 2018 November examination have been set.
The committee noted that several new subjects will be administered for the first time during the 2018 NSC examinations. This includes South African Sign Language, Technical Mathematics, Technical Sciences, Civil Technology, Electrical Technology and Mechanical Technology.
Committee Chairperson, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, said the committee was made aware of several generic risks identified by the Department of Basic Education. These risks include challenges with the 30% overtime threshold, service delivery or community protests which could prevent candidates from accessing venues, security of question papers across the system, inadequate monitoring of NSC examinations, inadequate staff capacity and morning and afternoon question papers stored at the school or distribution point. The department, however, indicated that the overtime risk has been addressed by way of relaxing this public service regulation.
The current status is that there has been a steady improvement in the quality and standard of question papers, improved security of question papers from origination to writing, no leakage of question papers in the 2017 NSC, strengthened monitoring of exam centres based on risk status of the centre, reduction of group copying and improved marking quality strategies.
“At this stage it looks like all systems are ready and in place for the class of 2018. The committee commended the department for taking even the risks into consideration and planning around that. The system is really on the rise,” said Ms Gina.
The committee also received a presentation from the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, also known as Umalusi. The committee heard that based on the state of readiness report of all provincial education departments, Umalusi declared that the DBE and Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) are ready to conduct the 2018 NSC examinations, taking into account some issues that need to be addressed prior to the commencement of the examinations. The issues mentioned by Umalusi are similar to those noted by the DBE in its presentation to the committee.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.