Pretoria - The second group of matriculants to write their exams based on the National Curriculum Statement, will begin their finals in less than a month.
The Department of Basic Education's Granville Whittle told BuaNews they were more than ready to administer reliable and credible senior certificate examinations.
"We are ready for this one," said Whittle, adding that they had increased capacity at national level to respond to any challenges which may arise.
The 588 000 registered candidates are the second group of matrics who will be writing exams based on the National Curriculum Statement, which was effectively phased in to all grades last year.
The examinations will kick off with non-official languages such as German, Portuguese and Hebrew, among others, on 26 October and end on 4 December, according to the timetable which has been made public.
Whittle encouraged pupils to use the remaining 25 days to study hard for their exams.
"Schools are also advised to continue giving pupils extra classes just to ensure their readiness. Pupils must use the remaining days constructively and engage with their teachers and other stakeholders," Whittle said.
He advised learners to continue to work through exam exemplars and use the Study Mate publication for last minute preparation.
"We published matric support packs in the Sunday newspapers, and pupils are urged to contact the department if they need those packs."
The minimum requirements to obtain a NSC are that all learners be examined on seven subjects, including two languages, maths or maths literacy, Life Orientation and three choice subjects from the approved list of subjects.
Learners must obtain a minimum of 40 percent in three subjects, this includes one home language and 30 percent in three subjects.
This year's matric results will be released in January, instead of during the December holidays.
This means that the matric class of 2009 will only know by 7 January next year, if they have passed or failed their final exams.
The decision was based on the fact that publishing the results in December put the department under extreme pressure, which heightened the possibility of errors.
At least 56 300 pupils were left in suspense when they did not receive their results last year.
About 600 000 pupils sat for the exams last year, and there was a 62.5 percent pass rate.