South Africa

More than 1 million pupils ready to start 2020 matric exams

It is all systems go for 1,058,699 candidates writing their final national senior certificate (NSC) exams next week despite Covid-19 challenges.

This was announced by Umalusi, the quality council for general and further education and training, at a briefing on Friday morning on the state of readiness to administer the 2020 national examinations.

The council’s CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi said in the past few months, public and independent assessment bodies have worked hard to ensure that their examination systems comply with Umalusi’s policy and directives regarding the administration, management and conduct of NSC examinations.

“The council has granted approval to private and public assessment bodies to administer the combined June and November 2020 national examinations for the NSC. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a peculiar academic year in which assessment bodies were compelled to reschedule their mid-year national examinations to November,” Rakometsi said.

There are 729,867 full and part-time candidates who were meant to write their exams in November while there are 161,099 full and part-time candidates who were meant to write their exams in June and 167,733 part-time candidates for amended senior certificates.

Rakometsi said the exams will be written at 1,406 examination centres across the country and marking will be conducted at about 215 marking centres.

“The Independent Examination Board has registered 13,201 NSC candidates who will write at 246 examination centres and the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute has registered 2,871 part-time candidates who will write at 72 centres across the country,” Rakometsi said.

He said this year Umalusi had adopted a risk management based (RMB) approach as its strategy to evaluate the level of preparedness of assessment  bodies to conduct the NSC examinations.

“As part of the RMB approach, Umalusi focuses on the following eight areas to fulfil its quality assurance of assessment mandate. The eight areas are management, registration of candidates and examination centres, school based assessment, printing, packaging and distribution of question papers, conduct of examinations, marker selection, appointment of marking personnel, systems for the capturing of marks and management of examination irregularities,” Rakometsi said.

Rakometsi said Umalusi does not advocate for the downgrading or trimming down of the quality examinations, in particular tinkering with the content of question papers.

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