Past matrics writing exams. The depart this year has a zero tolerance approach to malpractices during exams. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

After months of preparation, matric candidates will from next week be put to their test.
The learners will sit for their last exams as their careers in the basic education system comes to an end. 

37 340 candidates will sit for the first practical exams in Computer Examinations Technology on Monday. On Tuesday, they’ll write Information Technology.

The 2018 NSC exam will get off to a full start on Monday, October 22, with the writing of the exam in the Non-Official Languages.
Basic education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the 2018 NSC exam will see 796542 candidates, writing the exam across 6888 exam centres in the country. The number of full-time candidates is 629141 and the number of part time candidates 167401.

Mhlanga said: “The Department has left no stone unturned in its bid to ensure a credible and integrous NSC exam. The Department of Basic Education has embarked on an intensive review of all its systems and processes and has taken cognisance of the limitations that may have presented a challenge in previous years and all these have been thoroughly addressed.”

For these exams, the department will have firsts. They will be administering an exam in South African Sign Language at Home Language level to 58 deaf candidates across 10 schools. 

“The question papers will be signed and learners will respond by signing and this will be recorded using the appropriate technology. The Department of Basic Education has piloted its assessment processes in this regard, and we don’t foresee any difficulties with this exam.

“Another first for the department, is the writing of Technical Maths and Technical Science exam. The offering of these two subjects is in sync with the intention of the department to provide a broader scope of subject offerings for learners.”

In previous years, the department has had a problem with the leaking of question papers. Mhlanga said they have this year put in extra safety measures. 

He said: “An aspect of the system that the department has honed this year is the different points at which the question papers are stored en route to the school. The Department has audited each of these points and only those points that comply with the stringent criteria are allowed to store question papers. 

These storage points will be closely monitored by the Provincial Education Departments”

He said exam centres have also been categorised according to their risk profile.

“Examination centres that were implicated in exam malpractice in previous years will be monitored by a resident monitor. Schools will exercise a zero tolerance in ensuring that any learner that attempts to resort to any unfair practice, will be identified and severely punished,” he warned. 

The Star