Umalusi: All systems go for 2014 matric exams
Umalusi CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi says the South African examination system is ready for the 2014 final matric examinations.
Rakometsi said preparations for the upcoming matric exams have started in earnest and all assessment bodies have presented their plans to Umalusi.
Speaking to media at the University of Johannesburg, on Tuesday, he said a total of 6 86 915 learners in the country will write the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations from 20 October.
“For the NSC alone, the 2014 examinations will be written by 551 656 full time and 135 259 part-time candidates. These examinations will take place across more than 8 110 examination centres as compared 6 699 examination centres in 2013,” said Rakometsi.
He added that over 41 509 markers will mark the examinations scripts. Last year, there were about 35 000 markers.
He said Umalusi, as a quality assurance body, is not involved in the process of selecting competent markers who will be deployed in provinces, but wanted quality in the end.
“We are not going to prescribe how competent markers are appointed. It is up to the provinces if they want to run a competency test, we just want to be satisfied… we want the end product to be of good quality,” he said.
Umalusi, the Quality Council for General and Further Education and Training, moderates and approves all examination papers before they can be written by learners.
Rakometsi said internal assessment that takes place in schools also fall under Umalusi’s mandate, and that final marks that contribute to the overall results are also statistically moderated to ensure consistency and reliability.
Umalusi said the first two papers for mathematics will be compulsory for mathematics learners, as the third paper of the subject is phased out.
“Previously, the third paper was optional for high achievers, now there has been an outcry from institutions of higher learning. They wanted the components of the third paper to be done by all the candidates. Now those components of the third paper have been incorporated into the second paper,” he said.
Intensive monitoring for E-Cape, Limpopo and KZN
However, Rakometsi said Umalusi was concerned about the status of Limpopo and the Eastern Cape, where education departments are currently challenged with staff capacity and lack of adequate resources.
The two provinces were put under administration due to, amongst other things, high expenditure and shortage of money.
Rakometsi said due to the departments in these provinces being under administration, approval processes take longer than usual.
“Umalusi has recommended to the Department of Basic Education that intensive monitoring of these provinces needs to be instituted, to mitigate possible unintended consequences of this situation,” he said.
He added that Umalusi will also intensify its monitoring where necessary and that Umalusi strives to improve its systems every year to continue to close down any gaps or spaces where such events can occur.
Manager Evaluation and Accreditation at Umalusi, Faith Ramotlhale, added that monitoring will also be intensified in KwaZulu-Natal.
She said Umalusi was also concerned about vacant posts in some education departments in provinces, but filling those posts cannot happen overnight.
“… Also with regard to the issue of budgetary constraints, the department has put measures in place to ensure that they are going to address this matter before examinations start,” Ramotlhale said.
Rakometsi announced that the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SAICA), which is provisionally accredited, will pilot their full NSC exams for the first time this year.
“Overall, Umalusi is satisfied with the preparations for the end-of-year exams, and is confident that the general education system is adequately prepared to run these assessment successfully,” he added. - SAnews.gov.za
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