The Department of Higher Education has shelved plans to start enrolment into the alternative matric qualification for adults and out-of-school youth by this year.
Work towards the introduction of the National Senior Certificate for Adults (Nasca) by 2022 began 13 years ago.
It has been in a pilot phase for some years now. But, in a year it was due for implementation, the department revealed in a report prepared for Parliament that adults without matric and out-of-school youth would have to wait some more.
The report said Umalusi, which sets standards for education quality, expressed some reservations about Nasca.
Umalusi’s reservations pertained to the curriculum and policies that the department was yet to put in place.
“Professor (John) Volmink, on behalf of the Umalusi Council, wrote a letter to the Minister dated 02 September 2021 providing advice on the implementation of the Nasca,” said the report.
“Umalusi Council is indicating that the pilot implementation of the Nasca is fraught with serious challenges that could make practical implementation challenging.
“The Council advised the Minister to consider … (among other things) to delay the pilot until the intended curricula for all subjects to be implemented during the pilot are finalised, and the assessed curriculum documents are quality assured by Umalusi (and) to finalise outstanding policies, regulations and assessment protocols required to support the implementation of the Nasca.”
It appeared the government’s austerity measures also compounded problems relating to Nasca’s implementation.
The department’s report revealed that “no new money was provided for the implementation of the Nasca”.
This was while the amount required for the implementation of Nasca is R287.3 million.
Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande will now publish a notice in the government gazette withdrawing the previous notice that announced implementation by 2022.
“As a result of the delay in the implementation of the Nasca and the lack of funding allocation thereof, the pilot implementation plan and the Nasca implementation would have to be revised,” said the report.
“The revisions will consider the time frames to be approved for implementation as well as additional activities that must be undertaken.”
Once in place, Nasca will provide an opportunity for millions of adults and youth to obtain a school-leaving certificate equivalent to matric.
These learners will enrol in Community Learning Centres. To run the pilot in 54 centres, 540 lecturers and 54 centre managers were employed.
“The conceptualisation of an alternative matric qualification for adults and out-of-school youth began in 2009 in the Department of Education,” the department’s report pointed out.
“The Nasca qualification provides adults and out-of-school youth who have left school without an exit-level qualification, it provides the opportunity to acquire a school-leaving certificate and where possible access to higher education.”