Media statement by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga MP on an occasion to declare the readiness to release the grade 12 examination results, Pretoria, Gauteng province
5 Jan 2011
Greetings to you all!
I am indeed thrilled to declare that I have now formally received the 2010 Grade 12 results and its now all systems ready to release them tomorrow morning.
This has not been an easy road.
The National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations commonly known as “matric” have become an annual event of major public significance in South Africa. It not only signifies the culmination of twelve years of formal schooling but the NSC examination is one of the key barometers to indicate the state of health of the education system. This examination which attracts attention from all sectors of society has made significant progress over the last 152 years since the first formal examination was conducted in South Africa under the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1858. The NSC stands on the shoulders of years of tradition and development in assessment since that first examination in 1858.
National Examinations stand on the shoulders of those who have built a strong system of examinations in the country so that even when there is a myriad of problems, the question paper arrives on the correct desk on time and the marker marks that question paper shortly thereafter, and in a matter of weeks the notice of results is in the hands of over half a million young people.
Since the first examination the candidature has changed in size and composition over years. In 1990, the total number of candidates that wrote the Senior Certificate examination was 360 452 and this has increased to 643 546 candidates in 2010, almost doubling the 1990 figure. Overall in the country, the number of learners that enrolled for the National Senior Certificate in 2010 has increased by 10.42%, compared to 2009, which translates into 60 582 more learners writing the National Senior Certificate examination. The increase has been attributed in the main to the increase in the number of candidates that are repeating the NSC examination as part-time candidates. The number of repeaters has increased from 39 255 in 2009 to 82 553 in 2010. 6 540 full-time schools were involved in preparing learners for the examinations.
The successful conduct of the 2010 examination is a culmination and affirmation of the trajectory of development and education quality improvement that characterized the transformation of education in the democratic dispensation since 1996.
The class of 2010 was spared the horrors of mindless rote memorisation and regurgitation of facts in their assessment at school. Born in 1993, three years after Nelson Mandela was released and the year before the first democratic elections in South Africa, the class of 2010 began school in 1999, the year of the second democratic general election in South Africa. These learners were the second cohort of Grade 1 learners to be taught according to the first national curriculum in South Africa – Curriculum 2005. When they were in the Intermediate Phase, they were introduced to the Revised National Curriculum Statement and they began Grade 10 in the year that the first National Senior Certificate was written.
The class of 2010 was most appropriately prepared by South Africa’s developing curriculum for their school-leaving examination. They were fortunate to gain much from starting Grade 10 in the year that teachers were still receiving training and resource material to teach the new curriculum. They also benefitted from the extensive assessment support material that was provided to teachers who were then preparing the first cohort of learners were the National Senior Certificate. The class of 2010 was not derailed by the football event that was held in the middle of their Grade 12 year. This cohort of youngsters grew up with a host of world cups in South Africa: the 1995 Rugby World Cup; the 1996 Confederation Cup; the 2003 Cricket World Cup and, finally, the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
Of the total of 260 question papers set by the DBE for both, the November 2010 and March 2011 NSC examination, a total of 57 question papers were adapted for Braille. Because of the movement towards the use of the new Unicode Braille, all papers were printed in both the unified British font that is still widely used in many schools and Unicode which some schools are now using. Where diagrams could not be brailled, descriptive passages were provided for the candidates. In addition to the brailled question papers, papers are produced in large print and in specific coloured ink on a various colours of paper for learners who have partial sight.
Candidates who have barriers to hearing experience a unique set of barriers, such as difficulties in dealing with small details. 52 question papers were adapted for deaf learners by special examiners, who are mainly subject specialists with proven experience in education for learners with barriers to hearing were utilised to adapt the papers for the deaf candidates and candidates with partial hearing.
I am indeed happy to declare that all the regulatory and legislative requirements that give me permission to release the results have been met on time. Unlike last year, all the institutions that need to receive the results have now received the results and are ready to use the results to benefit them.
The examination process in South Africa culminates in the standardization of the results conducted by Umalusi, the independent Quality Assurance Council. The standardisation of the results is an international practice undertaken by all assessment agencies in the world to mitigate the impact on learner performance caused by factors other than the learner’s knowledge and aptitude. A large-scale examination system invariably has many and varied sources of variability from one year to the next. These include, inter alia, the levels of difficulty of question papers, errors in question papers and inconsistency of marking. The standardisation of results has in the past years been dominated by statistics but in recent years more qualitative data is being considered to authenticate the statistical data.
The success of the 2010 NSC examination has confirmed that the system has moved to yet another level in terms of standard and the observation made by Umalusi Council in the statement during the announcement of approval for the release of the 2010 examination results, that the “qualification is stabilising” and “the assessment instruments are, in general, being pitched at the correct levels. This observation was also confirmed by teachers: “this year’s matric final exam has run smoothly”; “teachers were not only impressed with the administrative processes whichran without a hitch, but also with the standard and quality of the question papers”; “everything was geared well and there were no dramas” (Beeld Newspaper , 2 December 2010).
UMALUSI has given us the stamp of approval declaring that the examinations were conducted and adjudicated in an environment that promoted fairness and quality examination. For that we extend our sincere gratitude to UMALUSI for their tireless work and support.
We have now dispatched the results to the Higher Education South Africa (HESA) as well as all media houses. The media will publish these results tomorrow morning but we urge all learners to go to their schools tomorrow to check their results to avoid unnecessary problems.
I am indeed excited to declare that 2010 Grade 12 results are ready to be released. They are safe in my hands and I am hopeful they will brighten South Africans when they are released.
I am grateful to all the MEC’s for their support, the Deputy Minister for his unwavering support, the Director-General and Provincial Education HOD’s, the Examination Team under the leadership of Dr N Sishi as well as those who gave us support during the 2010 academic year.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Basic Education
5 Jan 2011
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