Matric results to be released in January

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pretoria - The Department of Education has decided to revert to the old system of releasing matric results 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. 

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said the move was based on the fact that having to publish the results in December put the department under extreme pressure, which heightened the possibility of errors. 

Grade 12 learners complete their exams in October, leaving only a month and a half for marking, moderating and collecting data from all districts.

"We said it was an unnecessary pressure. Releasing the matric results later than usual will give officials more time to mark papers and check certain details," she said, speaking to BuaNews. 

Despite this shift, the minister said the learners would not miss registration deadlines for higher education institutions. "We will release interim results so that they can make preliminary admissions and then confirm them when the results are officially released."

The minister explained that the matric results had always been released in the first week of January before the year 2000.

However, because of Y2K fears at the time, the department had released the results earlier. 

"If you recall, with the threats of Y2K at the time, the decision was made to shift the release date to before the end of December," said Ms Motshekga, adding that this was not changed thereafter. 

Meanwhile, teachers in state schools are making the move into the digital age, as the national education department rolls out its plan to provide permanently employed teachers with an opportunity to acquire laptop computers.

Through the Teacher Laptop Initiative, from 1 July, teachers permanently employed by the state became eligible for an allowance to buy a laptop computer. 

According to Ms Motshekga, the objective of the program is to encourage school teachers to present their classes in a manner that will increase the students' interests as well as to help school teachers get accustomed to modern technology.

"The initiative is part of its strategy to improve Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in teaching and learning in South Africa." 

Teachers are selected by provincial education departments based on their seniority and area of specialisation, to qualify for an allowance.

According to the Government Gazette of 8 May, a monthly allowance will be paid to qualifying teachers for a period of five years, renewable every five years, upon proof of acquiring the laptop computer.

The allowance prices a laptop with the minimum required specifications at about R11 750, with R4 000 to be used for the hardware, discounted software at R350 and insurance at R1 200.

Internet connectivity is valued at R6 000 per annum, which equates to a stipend of about R195 per month over 60 months. 

According to the department, the laptops must have a 160 GB hard drive, 1 GB of memory, a DVD reader/writer, wired and wireless LAN and a voice-fax modem for internet connectivity.

Software loaded on the laptop will include Windows XP or higher, Microsoft Office 2007, anti-virus software, school administration and national curriculum software, and teacher development materials.

In return, teachers will have to make the laptop available for inspection by education department officials, e-mail the department each month, and allow the principal to verify that the laptop is being used and take a register