Umalusi not in favour of downgrading exams
Durban - THE examination quality assurance body Umalusi has put its foot down, saying it would not support any downgrading of this year’s matric examinations to accommodate the challenges brought on by Covid-19 to the academic year.
The chief executive, Dr Mafu Rakometsi, made this clear yesterday when addressing a virtual meeting on the state of readiness for the 2020 matric exams.
“We are experiencing something unprecedented in our country and the world over. Covid-19 makes the class of 2020 a unique cohort. We are concerned as Umalusi about how the disruptions caused by the virus are affecting the class and we remain sensitive to the needs of matric pupils in this regard.
“However, while we are concerned about the difficulties, Umalusi does not advocate for the downgrading or trimming down of the quality of examinations, in particular tinkering with the content of question papers.
“We do not support that line of thinking. We consider ourselves a vanguard of quality assurance in this country, the last line of defence,” he stressed.
He said Umalusi had been talking to various assurance bodies and had been willing to show flexibility on the issues of time and the timetable.
“What is important is that the pupils who will write the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams must be able to complete the whole syllabus and be tested on it. We don’t want them to be stigmatised as a cohort of pupils who passed an NSC that was watered down.
“It is our considered view that as a quality control council, we would be abdicating our responsibility if we allowed for changes to be made to the quality and content of question papers.
“It is possible for all of us to salvage the academic year if we work together to achieve this goal as a country. We must work together to make it possible for the class of 2020 to do well,” he said.
He added that it was important to maintain the standard of quality assurance to make sure that the South African public and stakeholders had confidence in the standard.
Rakometsi also gave details of how the exams would be structured this year, saying the accounting and business study papers would each have two papers for the first time.
He said Umalusi would also be auditing those who had been appointed as markers to ensure that suitable and qualified personnel with the requisite skills were appointed. It would look at the records of all the appointed markers and compare them with the Umalusi database to identify risk and anything that was in contravention of policy.