Department ready to ’pull off successful matric exams’
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Johannesburg – The Basic Education Department said on Tuesday that it was on track with its matric examination preparations as more than 1 million candidates sit for exams in a week's time.
"We are ready to pull off a successful examination," said the department's Dr R Poliar.
Poliar was part of the delegation that briefed the basic education portfolio committee on readiness for the examinations.
Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule said learners missed a lot of time during the academic year.
"With attitude pupils and teachers will make the 2020 National Senior Certificate examination successful," Mhaule siad.
Poliar said the department has done what was possible to ensure matrics were ready to write the exams.
"Despite the disadvantages and anxiety, they will write under most conducive conditions ... It is unfortunate for this class to look forward and write under difficult conditions.’’
He said the June and November exams had been combined.
Poliar added that the registration of candidates had been completed with 1 058 999 to sit for exams.
The total number of full-time candidates is 616 021; November part-time candidates 113 846; June senior certificates candidates 167 733; June full-time 155 935 and June part-time, 5 164.
Poliar told MPs all questions papers have been set and approved by quality assurance Umalusi.
In a presentation to the committee, the department said issues emanating from the previous exams have been attended to.
"All exam centres and storage points and nodal points have been audited. Invigilator training has been completed."
The department said that marker appointments were being finalised. There will be 45 809 markers and 180 marking centres.
"Provincial education departments are currently managing the marking of subjects where shortages of markers have been identified."
The department and Umalusi would be conducting an audit of the markers appointment.
"Where there is non-compliance this will be corrected. (There are) marker shortages in a small number of subjects across most provincial education departments," read the presentation.
"Provincial education departments will extend the number of days needed for marking to accommodate the marker shortages or use a staggered marking approach."
Poliar said although they were slightly behind with the printing and packaging of exam papers, there was nothing to be concerned about.
He also said all storage points have been audited for compliance to norms and standards. According to Poliar, all the centres were verified in terms of risk profile.
"Training of invigilators is conducted based on national manuals and training is conducted by competent provincial and district teams.
’’Invigilator training across provincial education departments was conducted mostly virtually and in some cases face to face."
The department said it identified about eight risks, but they were managing them and put measures in place.
These included infections at marking centres, shortage of markers, load shedding, a second wave of infections, protest action and disruption of exams, among others.
"We covered all the identified risks. We are dependent on Umalusi to alert what we need to do," Poliar said.
Umalusi's Mary-Louise Madalane said the quality assurance body has conducted the evaluation of readiness of the department and provinces.
"Acceptable levels of readiness and related measures which are in place to ensure conduct of credible exams by departments of basic education and provincial education departments were noted and this is appreciated.
"Based on our observation and reports of SOR, Umalusi is satisfied that the Department of Basic Education, through the nine provincial education departments, is ready to conduct next June-November examinations," Madalane said.