Umalusi ready to hold matric examinations

It’s all systems go for the Grade 12 matric examinations with the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, Umalusi, declaring that it is ready to quality assure the final examinations for 2012.

“Umalusi is satisfied with the preparations for the end of year exams, and it is confident that the general education system is adequately prepared to run these assessments successfully,” said Umalusi Senior Manager for Quality Assessment Vijay Naidoo yesterday.

Umalusi did, however, have some outstanding concerns regarding the status of readiness in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape provinces, which the Basic Education Department has put under administration.

“Umalusi has recommended to the Department of Basic Education that intensive monitoring of these provinces needs to be instituted to mitigate possible unintended consequences of this situation. For its part, Umalusi will also intensify its monitoring, where it deems necessary to do so,” Naidoo said.

Despite the problems which have affected schooling in these provinces, including the closure of schools in the Northern Cape, the exams results would not be standardised and the examinations would not be cancelled or postponed in these provinces.

Umalusi CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi noted that the delay in delivery of textbooks in Limpopo had not affected matriculants – only the Grade 11s who were doing CAPS for the first time.

“There’s no way we can cancel the exams because of the [delay in the delivery of] textbooks or where learners have not been to schools due to protests. All learners will be in a same position and will not be singled out because they did not attend school for four months.

“Umalusi is not artificially increasing the results of learners or bringing them down because of the circumstances. We only look at standardation and we check that there is consistency from one year to the other and not because of other things,” Dr Rakometsi said, adding that the standardisation process was done at national level not provincial level.

About 620 000 Grade 12 learners will sit for the NSC 2012 examinations, set to take place in more than 6 500 examination centres and to be overseen by 65 000 invigilators.

Over 35 000 markers in 123 marking centres across the country will be marking the papers.

Meanwhile, Umalusi has announced that the provisional accreditation status of the Eksamensraad vir Christelike Onderwys (ERCO) has lapsed with effect from 1 October 2012. The body will not be able to administer examinations this year.

This will affect 60 exams centres have been affected, including those who have been home schooled.

The NSC examinations are administered by two private assessment bodies – the Independent Examinations Board (IEB), ERCO and the Department of Basic Education.

Umalusi said among the reasons for the none-extension of ERCO’s accreditation were its on-going poor and unstable management since 2008, which has seen four different CEOs from 2008 up to the beginning of this year.

“It has not been successful in establishing a viable body with sufficient numbers of learners or the professional management capacity to run credible examinations. ERCO had obtained a large number of national papers from the department and didn’t manage the security risk sufficiently through insecure practices, they posed the whole national NSC exams at risk.

“While it appointed another new CEO, head of exams in 2012 and claimed to have beefed up its board with expertise, the management risk still remains critical. They continue not to meet the provisional education planning, as evidence in the recent 2011 examination saga.

“Since 2008, ERCO has struggled to set exam papers to the acceptable standard and relied on the department to supply 38 of its papers,” Dr Ramoketsi explained.

All candidates, who were supposed to write their examinations under ERCO, have been accommodated by the Department of Basic Education.

While, the focus at this time of the year is normally on the NSC, Umalusi is also responsible for quality assuring the General Education and Training Certificate to adults and the National Certificate: Vocational. – SAnews.gov.za