Welcome to this media briefing, on the 2012 exams.
It is that time of the year again, when Grade 12 learners must sit for their end of the year examinations, undoubtedly the greatest milestone in their 12 years of schooling. It is indeed all systems go for the 2012 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations, which start this coming Monday, 22 October, until Wednesday, 28 November 2012.
Our Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) have sent us reports confirming their readiness. I am glad to announce that all of them are ready.
We are encouraged that in the 5th year of the administration of the NSC across the country we can continue to reflect on achievements as well as challenges of our system of public examinations.
Despite the teething problems of the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) in the beginning, our findings show that the NSC has continued to improve both in quality and status over the past 5 years.
We have made numerous improvements in 2012 to ensure a solid, credible examination based on a strengthened strategy in the setting, moderation and quality assurance of all question papers. A panel of independent experts are responsible for the setting of the question papers.
Improvements include the following:
These examiners and moderators, whose training is ongoing, have received special training on “Assessment of Visual Literacy” - an aspect of language assessment which has been a challenge in previous years:
Based on these improvements, we are of the view that our system has stabilised in many respects. For example, over the past two years we have not experienced any question paper “leaks”, nor any serious incidents that could compromise the credibility of the NSC examinations.
This is a great achievement on our part, which proves that the DBE’s sound legislative framework for all examination practices, compliance with legislation, and the collaboration between the DBE and its provincial counterparts in examination administration are indeed working.
The following are important facts and figures, which will be very useful for the media to inform the public, around the enormity of the NSC:
It is also important to announce that the DBE has agreed to support learners who were previously registered with the Eksamenraad Vir Christelike Onderwys (ERCO), the independent examining body that was de-registered by UMALUSI. In order to accommodate these learners, a separate paper had to be set for English and Afrikaans Literature, given that these candidates studied different setworks.
These are just some of the many improvements we strive to bring to the NSC year after year.
The security of question papers and scripts before and after examinations cannot be over emphasised. In order to continue our trend of “no paper leaks” we will continue with the safekeeping of question papers in safe-rooms whose locations we cannot disclose.
We will also continue our cooperation with security companies and police to escort sealed question papers on the day in which a particular paper will be written.
Most provinces have installed CCTV cameras, biometric systems of access control and alarm systems at distribution points to avoid any security breaches. It is also important to single out Mpumalanga, which previously had security challenges, that this year, it has a state of the art security system that surpasses all the other provinces.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we are confident that the 2012 NSC examination will proceed as smoothly as it has in the past few years. We cannot foresee any major discrepancies or irregularities. Where these occur, we have in place Provincial Examination Irregularities Committees that are fully functional in all provinces, to ensure full and speedy finalisation of investigations into irregularities of any form or size.
I therefore declare the National Examination system of the DBE, comprising all 9 Provincial Education Departments, ready to deliver on a credible and fair examination.
Good luck to the Class of 2012.