The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education has praised the Department of Basic Education for its part in preparing matriculants for the upcoming National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams which start next week.
The NSC examination will start on the 5th of November and end on the 15th of December 2020 with results expected to be released next year, the 23rd of February 2021.
During a portfolio meeting, Committee chairperson, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, said that a lot of work was done in the background to prepare the students for their final exams.
“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.
The Department of Basic Education and the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) assured the committee 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.
Very few candidates registering for mathematics
The committee admitted that it is worried about the declining number of students registering for mathematics, with many 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
Most provincial education departments (PEDs) have employed extra exam markers and invigilators, and secured extra marking centres to cope with the increased number of students writing the exams this year.
Umalusi says that it has already evaluated the department and PEDs’ level of preparedness, adding that it 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.”