Quality assurer, Umalusi, has completed its groundwork ahead of the 2018 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations and is confident they will be rolled out in a credible manner.
The council said it is satisfied with the systems put in place for the matric exams.
“I can report that our system is ready to administer the 2018 final examinations smoothly. Assessment bodies have been hard at work in the past few months to make sure that the exams comply with our policy and directives regarding administration, management and conduct of the examinations,” Umalusi CEO Mafu Rakometsi told the media on Friday.
Detailing their readiness plans, Rakometsi said this year they have reconceptualised its approach to the quality assurance of assessment with specific reference to ten key focus areas.
These include management, registration of candidates, school-based assessment, printing, packaging and distribution of question papers, the conduct of examination, appointment of marking personnel, system for the capturing of marks, management of examination irregularities, the accreditation of examination centres and as well as certification.
Rakometsi said this new approach will ensure the examinations are not treated as a once off event, but rather a continual process between exam periods.
In just nine days, the 2018 examinations will kick off with the first practical examination in Computer Applications Technology (CAT).
A total of 37 340 candidates will sit for the CAT exam. This will be followed by the practical examination for Information Technology that will be administered to 4 170 candidates on Tuesday, 16 October.
The 2018 NSC examination will get off to a full start on Monday, 22 October, with the writing of the examinations in non-official languages.
“We wish the class of 2018 well in the coming examinations. You worked hard for 12 years and you are now in your last mile. Give it your best,” Rakometsi said.
Rakomesti said for the first time the examinations will include 12 new subjects - such as sign language, civil technology, technical science and mechanical science - which embrace the 4th industrial revolution.
Although it’s all system go, Rakometsi said a few irregularities were identified during inspections.
Some storage facilities in examination centres did not meeting the requirements set out. In such instances, Rakometsi said, they have put in place alternative measures which will not compromise the exam papers.
The council has also forwarded the recommendations on these issues to the Department of Basic Education which will address them before exams begin.
The council has also put in place mechanisms to deal with cases such as group copying and paper leaks.
“A national examinations irregularities committee is fully functional. For example one of the mechanisms in place is that we print papers just before examinations and we are improving our approach especially on high-risk provinces and centres,” he said, adding that when more irregularities are identified, Umalusi must be informed.
The department investigates incidents while Umalusi plays an oversight role.
Each year comes with its set of challenge, he said, making an example of the increased number of protests in certain communities over the past years.
In this light, Umalusi made an impassioned plea to communities to refrain from using examinations and schools as a bargaining tool during protests.
“We must not play with the future of our children. Also, refrain from destroying and burning school property in a hope to get attention from authorities,” Ramoketsi said, adding that the department is working with law enforcement agencies to deal with these incidents.
The 2018 NSC examinations comprise 796 542 candidates, writing across 6 888 examination centres in the country.
The number of full-time candidates is 629 141, while the number of part-time candidates is 167 401. The examinations will extend over five-and-a-half weeks concluding on 28 November.
Marking will commence on 1 December 2018 across most provincial education departments, except for the larger provinces where marking will start earlier to ensure that all marking is completed by 15 December 2018.
Rakometsi said a total of 44 505 markers have been appointed to mark across the 141 marking centres. All of these markers have been audited to ensure that only those that satisfy the criteria are appointed. - SAnews.gov.za