Cape Town -111025. Matric students writing their final Accountancy exam at Zola Secondary School in Khayelitsha. Reporter: Michelle Jones.Pic: Jason Boud

Education quality assurance body Umalusi has rubber- stamped the 2012 national senior certificate results due for release on Thursday.

Professor Sizwe Mabizela, chairman of the Umalusi Council, said they were satisfied that nothing had compromised the integrity or credibility of the examinations process administered by the Department of Basic Education.

However, in one irregularity examination papers were leaked by KwaZulu-Natal department officials and found in the possession of a high school student.

Mabizela said “appropriate action will be taken against the implicated parties”.

Provincial education spokesman Muzi Mahlambi remains upbeat about the results. “The department is ready and looking forward to the release of the results. With all the intervention programmes we have put in place this year we have no reason but to be positive.”

KZN achieved a 68.1 percent matric pass rate in 2011, a decline from 70.7 percent achieved in 2010.

Nationally, the pass rate increased to 70.2 percent in 2011, up from 68.7 percent in 2010.

Education expert Graeme Bloch cautioned that while there would a slight increase in the pass rate, he was not optimistic about a drastic change.

“My assessment, based on comments made by the national education minister (Angie Motshekga), who has access to the raw data, is quite optimistic. I believe there will be a minor increase; I will be very surprised if it increases drastically.”

He said the exams had been conducted well and that the department showed it could rise to the challenges.

Mabizela said 527 335 full-time and 120 352 part-time candidates were enrolled for the NSC examinations, administered by the Department of Basic Education, with a total of 61 subjects presented for standardisation.

He said raw marks were accepted for 44 subjects (72 percent). Of the remaining 17 subjects, an upward shift was effected on four subjects, with a downward moderation shift on 13 subjects.

Mabizela added that while strong views had been expressed regarding the low requirements for an NSC certificate, “the reality is that less than 0.09 percent of learners obtain the NSC on the basis of the minimum requirements” (three subjects at 30 percent and four at 40 percent).

“We, however, remain concerned about the low levels of performance in some of the key subjects, particularly mathematics, as our country will be hosting the International Mathematics Olympiad in July 2014.”

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Sunday Tribune