The South African Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) during a media briefing at their head office in Pretoria on Friday. Picture: Brenda Masilela/ANA
Johannesburg - The Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, uMalusi has once again pleaded with parents and communities to put learners first and not deprive them of obtaining quality education and securing a good future for themselves.

Speaking at a press briefing where uMalusi approved the 2017 examination results days before they are officially released to learners, the council's chief executive officer Mafu Rakometsi said they had noted the few disruptions which occurred during the final exam period.

"The effects of the protests (service delivery) have been late coming of learners for exams and because of taxi strikes. Some of them (learners) did not even pitch up for exams. Even those who arrived late for exams due to protests were traumatised," Ramoketsi said, adding they faced difficulties in the exam rooms.

He said protests, as a result, had a negative effect on learners.

"We're making an appeal. Let us take an interest in our learners first. Where there are pressing social issues, let us deal with them at the right time, through the right process and the right channels and not target them when examinations are being written."

In September, thousands of Grade 12 learners in Vuwani, Limpopo missed out on their preliminary exams after communities shut down schools and other municipal facilities in service delivery protests.

The action by community members stems from their desire to be integrated into a new municipality and receive services from the Vhembe District Municipality. 

Meanwhile, the quality assurance body commended the Department of Basic Education for carrying out a successful, credible and incident-free National Senior Examination Certificate examination process.

According to uMalusi, up to 634 527 full-time and 168 109 part-time learners enrolled to write a collective of 58 subjects for this year's the NSC exams while 12 160 pupils sat for the Independent Examination Board (IEB) exams.

The class of 2017 is the fourth cohort to write final examinations under the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (Caps) since it was introduced in 2012.

uMalusi chairperson Professor Jimmy Volmink said there were no systematic irregularities that occurred to undermine the integrity and credibility of the examination process.

He said the council approved the NSC results proviso the marks of individual candidates implicated in the minor examination irregularities be blocked and investigated and for the investigation outcomes to be reported to uMalusi. 

For IEB, Volmink also gave the exam process a nod however, noted that the technical glitches that had transpired in the electronic marking system had to be dealt with and reported to the council.

He said it was also pleasing to see that there was a steady upward trend in the marks of subjects such as Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, Physical Science and Life Science and futher highlighted that such as Visual, Dramatic Arts and Agricultural Sciences needed to be given more attention and afforded the status that they deserve. 

Rakometsi lauded the IEB for being innovative and introducing e-marking and said like any other system depended on technology there will be teething problems but hopefully the two perecent error margin will be sorted out.

The Department of Basic Education in the meantime has welcomed the approval by uMalusi.

"We are happy. We always look forward to this day because after today we can now start talking about arrangements in terms of what we need to do. It's been a good year. We did not have any challenges whatsoever. The most challenging year was 2014 when we had group copying incidents in the Northwest, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape and they were large.  But since then, the incidents have declined," department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said.

In terms of the adjustments that have been made by the council in some of the 16 subjects, the DA has since demanded an explanation from uMalusi as to what the reasons for the adjustments are.

But Rakometsi has invited the DA to make Parliamentary submissions saying they will be given the reasons there. 

Matric pupils will officially receive their results on January 5.

Political Bureau