The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has confidently stated that it is fully prepared to administer the November 2022 examinations based on the principles of fairness, reliability, validity and integrity.
The DBE was briefing the Portfolio Committee on the state of readiness for the National Senior Certificate Examinations on Tuesday.
The DBE and provincial education departments (PEDs) are currently preparing for the administration of the November 2022 National Senior Certificate Examinations.
Grade 12 learners will be sitting in earnest for the NSC Examinations from 31 October 2022 to 7 December 2022 in all nine provinces.
The DBE told the Committee that there has been a gradual increase in the number of fulltime enrolments in 2022, compared with previous years.
The number of full-time enrolments increased from 733 198 in 2021 to 755 981 in 2022.
This is an increase of 22 783 candidates and this allays the concern that there would have been a significant dropout of learners post the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of part-time learners has also increased from 163 965 in 2021 to 167 479 in 2022.
A total of 193 question papers will be administered at 6 912 examination centres.
A total of 52 811 markers are appointed for the marking of the November 2022 NSC Examinations. This marks an increase of 11 215 markers, compared to 41 596 markers in 2021.
The department said the increase in markers is in keeping with the increase in learner enrolments.
DBE Director-General, Mathanzima Mweli, said that despite the best efforts of the Department of Basic Education, they are nonetheless aware of the negative impact of load shedding on the performance of learners writing this examination.
“Difficult as it is the department has given guidelines on how to deal with this and appreciate the innovation and creativity employed by schools.
“DBE is fully aware of the predicament of learners during this very important examination and therefore the DBE will take all the necessary steps to ensure minimum disadvantage to our learners,” Mweli said.
The Director-General said that load shedding not only affects the actual writing of the examination in the classroom, but also learner’s preparation for the examination and to a large degree their anxiety levels before the examination.
Mweli told the Committee that the Grade 12 DBE senior management had a meeting with the senior management of Eskom on 14 October 2022 and at this meeting the priority requirements of the Department in relations to the Grade 12 examinations was outlined to Eskom Senior Management.
In addition, the DBE has a rewrite opportunity for both Computer Applications Technology (CAT) and Information Technology (IT) on 7 December 2022.
This will allow learners that faced disruption during the examination and could not attempt or complete the examination, to be allowed a second opportunity.
In addition, Mweli said that the DBE liaises closely with all nine PEDs to identify any challenges or security risks in a timeous manner to ensure that no candidate is disadvantaged in any manner and to ensure the security of question papers.
Ensuring irregularity-free examination
To ensure an irregularity-free examination, the DBE told the Committee that it has stepped up its security across all points in the question paper chain, based on a continuous review of all examination processes.
In addition, all learners sitting for the NSC examinations and their parents will sign a ‘Commitment Agreement’ to maintain honesty and not to participate in irregularities during the writing of examination.
“The Commitment Agreement binds the learners and parents to follow the rules relating to the examination. In line with this agreement, learners and parents are obliged to make any irregularity related information immediately available to the school principal or the DBE hotline.
“They are also expected to surrender cell phones and any other related device if there is an allegation of involvement in an act of dishonesty,” Mweli said.
The learners are briefed on all the rules and regulations pertaining to the examinations and on the consequences, should they be implicated in irregularities.
The DBE said that it continues to liaise closely with Eskom, the security cluster, PEDs and other relevant stakeholders to manage the risks posed by load shedding and other security related matters.
“In view of the current situation the Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) have requested schools, where possible, to procure alternative lighting mechanisms for our examination centres and power generators, where funds are available,” the department said.
Source: South African Government News Agency