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Exam standards won't drop, says govt

by BuaNews Online
on 19 Oct 2010
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The Basic Education Department said on Tuesday that exam paper standards would not be compromised, despite the challenges faced by the education sector.

Reports have filtered in from all nine provinces of some schools not having completed the syllabus, despite the National Senior Certificate exams being around the corner.

Matrics will begin what are generally considered the most important exams of their school career on 25 October.

The department reported 642 691 pupils across the country have registered for the exams; 562 473 are full time candidates and 80 218 pupils are part time. This is an increase of 22 980 compared to December 2009.

The department's Chief Director of Examinations, Nkosinathi Sishi, acknowledged that there have been acute difficulties this year.

The recent three-week public sector strike and long mid-year holidays due to the World Cup impacted on schooling. However, a catch-up programme and learning camps have since been put in place to help learners get ready to the best of their ability.

Sishi urged schools to do the best they could in the few remaining days. He said subject advisors would be sent to help with last-minute preparations.

The chief director congratulated those schools that managed to complete the syllabus. He said the department would have a clearer picture by the end of the week of the number of schools which are yet to complete the syllabus.

It will then come up with a strategy to deal with the situation, which might be factored into the moderation process.

From Saturday until 15 November, the provincial departments will capture the school based assessments marks of all learners. The process will be monitored by the national department.

From 13 - 15 October, some 90 000 pupils wrote their practical exams.

The recent power interruptions experienced resulted in several schools in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape not being able to administer exams in subjects such as IT and music. This will be now done on 4 November at 2pm.

During exams, 127 marking centres will be set up, with a total of 38 874 markers. A total of 198 papers will be written in 39 subjects in about 800 exam centres.

Examination scripts in all provinces, with the exception of Gauteng, will be marked from 4 - 15 December. Marking in Gauteng will begin on 19 November.

Sishi said markers with at least three years experience in the various subjects were appointed. For every five teachers, there will be supervising marker.

On 22 December, the National Examinations Irregularities Committee will hand over its report to the department's director general to be submitted to the minister. It will then go to quality assurer, Umalusi.

Preliminary results checked from 24 - 30 December. Umalusi will on December 30 convene a meeting to approve the results.

From 3 - 5 January 2011, the statements of results of pupils will be distributed, with the release of the official results on 6 January.

Sishi gave the reassurance that the data capturing process for results would not experience the same glitches as with the previous system. The department had created a backup system to ensure smooth function. - BuaNews

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