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Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says it is all systems go ahead of the 2016 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations scheduled to begin on 26 October.

The Minister on Sunday briefed media in Pretoria following a meeting held by the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) on Thursday to discuss a number of issues affecting the education sector.

“As CEM, we are confident that the system is adequately prepared to run these examinations,” said the Minister.

There are 677 141 registered full-time and 150 183 part-time candidates in the 2016 examinations, which is 9 000 more than in 2015.

“KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng again have the largest enrolments with 169 769 and 112 069 respectively. Limpopo has 102 618, while Eastern Cape has 89 740 candidates registered for the 2016 grade 12 exams,” said Minister Motshekga.

The CEM also discussed interventions to prevent the leakage of any examination papers.

“All storage points across the country will be audited to ensure that they meet the minimum security standards. Storage points that do not comply will not be allowed to store papers,” said the Minister, emphasising that the national department will help any province that is not ready to store papers.

The department also has a duty to ensure that learners and teachers are ready for the exams psychologically.

“The psychosocial and economic realities of South Africa mean that schools are valuable centres of support, with ever-increasing demands on educators. These include high rates of unemployment and poverty, high rates of HIV and tuberculosis infection, crime, orphanhood, violence and child abuse.

“Research shows about 10% of our learners in the system are orphans. We have, therefore, undertaken to review and strengthen psychosocial support to learners,” Minister Motshekga said. - SAnews.gov.za

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