THE SPOTLIGHT has been cast on “unqualified” teachers who mark Grade 12 papers, after two were subjected to an investigation in Limpopo.
The Christians Of South Africa (Cosa) has asserted that the problem could be widespread, making it difficult for matrics to get into university.
Cosa deputy president, Pastor Derick Mosoana, said teachers deployed to mark these crucial exams are not familiar with the subject content, as they are teaching in the lower grades.
“When you are a Grade 12 learner, you rely heavily on the accuracy of marking in the final exams. You simply cannot expect someone who does not know the content to do the marking.
“You cannot have someone who is familiar with the Grade 10 syllabus engage with Grade 12 subject material. This is a risk, a gamble with the matrics’ future,” Mosoana said.
So far two teachers from Mphela A Marumo Secondary School in Limpopo were accused of not being qualified markers.
He added that the practice would have dire consequences when learners apply at universities.
“A learner might find that he/she is supposed to achieve 80% instead of the 45% he or she gets. This is a disadvantage and could demoralise learners,” he said.
The party has since engaged learner representative committees in different schools to stage a protest at the Limpopo marking centre. He accused the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) of allowing unqualified people to be deployed as markers.
Sadtu spokesperson, Nomusa Cembi, said only the Department of Basic Education was responsible for appointing markers
Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said Cosa’s allegations were being taken seriously.
“Marking of the answer scripts of candidates in a public exam is one of the most important stages in the exam cycle, and therefore only competent teachers are appointed for this task,” Mhlanga pointed out.
He said the marker selection criteria stipulated by the Personnel Administrative Measures (PAM), is part of the national policy governing the appointment of markers.
In terms of the policy, markers must have at least a recognised three-year post-matric qualification, which must include the subject concerned at second or third-year level, he added.
“Following the concerns raised by Cosa about the appointment of two markers in Limpopo, one appointed for maths literacy and the other for physical sciences, the chief director in the province conducted an investigation with the school principal and the circuit manager,” said Mhlanga.
The department was able to verify that both teachers had satisfied the national selection criteria, and did have the required teaching experience in the subjects for which they were appointed.
The application records of both markers were also verified and hence the markers were allowed to continue, he said.
Mhlanga said a marker must have extensive experience as an educator in the particular subject or a related subject, and must have at least two years’ Grade 12 teaching or other curriculum-related experience within the past five years in the subject.
“The marker must also be competent in the language of teaching and learning. In February, the Limpopo Provincial Education Department (LPED) conducted the selection of markers for the 2019 June exams based on the prescripts of PAM,” said Mhlanga.
The province has also undertaken a verification of the qualifications and experience of the prospective markers, which is done by way of certified documents and attested to by the school principal, he pointed out.