Marking of matric exam papers on track
Cape Town - Education experts, activists and unions said they are confident that matric marking processes are still on track to be finalised by the weekend, with some centres already completed.
Stellenbosch University’s curriculum studies department chairperson, Professor Michael le Cordeur, said he was confident with the basic education department's progress on marking of Grade 12 scrips even with everything that happened last year.
Le Cordeur said he was aware that the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) was sitting to verify the results, a thorough process that would take time, the best part of the month, to be exactly – January 20 till February 22.
"So by the time the results will be released on February 23, we can rest assured that Umalusi will not put their stamp on something that they themselves do not approve of," he said.
"Let us trust Umalusi and the DBE, and let us allow them to do their work. I think we are in good hands," said Le Cordeur.
This follows after the department's Director-General Mathanzima Mweli and the Assessment and Examination Director, Priscilla Ogunbanjo briefed stakeholders on the status of the marking process of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam scripts yesterday.
According to Ogunbanjo, over 90% of centres, which were scheduled to finalise the marking of scripts on Friday, have already wrapped up, with 45 272 markers appointed, of which 2 463 withdrew, mostly due to Covid-19.
"These withdrawals were mostly those who declined, others maybe got sick, a family member got sick or for whatever reason, didn’t accept the appointment, and so didn’t show up,” she said, adding that the department replaced 70% of those who withdrew.
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the marking had progressed well from an administrative point of view.
"All marking processes are on track to be finalised by this weekend. Some marking centres have already completed their processes," said Hammond.
She said there were, however, 19 positive cases reported during the marking period of markers that had tested positive for Covid-19. Those were isolated cases, and it did not result in further spreading.
University of the Western Cape (UWC) Education faculty’s deputy dean of research, Professor Rouaan Maarman, said with all the disruptions of last year, it was impossible to have a fully legitimate quality matric. However, there was not much the department could do as they did not have the capacity to innovate at short notice.
Maarman said even though the department had a focus on the matrics, schooling was too disruptive and haphazard to compare with previous years.
"My sense is that the marking went well and they had back-up markers where teachers withdrew from marking and that they adapted the question papers to fit the 2020 scenario," said Maarman.
He said he believed that the department would do "block adjustments" of the marks to ensure that it looks respectable.
"We must understand that 2020 was too challenging to expect normal results, especially in the light of the difficult conditions most of our learners are exposed to while attending school."
National Professional Teachers Organisation of SA (Naptosa) executive director Basil Manuel said it should be acknowledged that there was more pressure and that there were people withdrawing and sometimes they couldn't be replaced and the pressure mounted because people had to mark more.
He said he had great faith with how the moderation worked: "Now we just have to hope for the best to see that everything goes smoothly until the release of the results."