The Department of Basic Education has briefed the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the possible merger of Grade 12 National Examinations.
The session began with a briefing on the results of the 2016 National Senior Certificate (NSC) Supplementary Examinations which show that an additional 13,765 candidates achieved their NSC qualifications and thus passed Grade 12.
The 2016 NSC Supplementary Examinations took place from 22 February 2017 to 31 March 2017 and saw 76,760 candidates writing 116 question papers at 6,326 examinations centres around the country. The suppplementary exams are considered a second sitting of the November 2016 NSC examinations. The consolidation of the performance in the November 2016 and February 2017 exams provides a complete picture of the overall performance of the Class of 2016. The supplementary examinations allow candidates, who did not meet the NSC requirements by 1 to 3 subjects during the November examinations, a second chance at obtaining their NSC qualification.
A summary of the gains emanating from the 2016 NSC Supplementary Examinations have shown an improvement with the overall performance of candidates, reflecting an increase from 442,672 to 456,437 (a difference of 13,765) candidates achieving the NSC; with an increase of 9,561 candidates obtaining their Higher Certificates; 2,619 additional candidates obtaining admission to Diploma studies; and 1,564 more candidates obtaining admission to Bachelor’s studies.
The supplementary examinations were conducted following the same standard and rigour of the November 2016 NSC exams. The normal quality assurance procedures of the Department of Basic Education and Umalusi were applied to the supplementary examinations. The only disruptions to the examinations were community protest actions which resulted in some candidates not writing the examinations in some subjects.
Candidates who took part in the examinations and are yet to collect their results are encouraged to contact their Provincial or District Education Offices to access their results.
The Department is concerned that the participation rate remains low in supplementary exams. More than 123,000 candidates enrolled for the February 2017 examinations but only 76,000 actually wrote. The Department has been monitoring the patterns for several years and despite several attempts to improve the participation rate no change has taken place. As a result the Department intends merging the February supplementary examinations with the June national examinations.
"The current examinations are not serving its intended purpose. Learners that write the supplementary exams are unable to access admission to higher education institutions in the year they write these examinations. There is a large percentage of no shows followed by poor performance in the supplementary examinations. We therefore want to reduce the Grade 12 National Examination opportunities from 3 to 2", said Dr Rufus Poliah, the Head of National Examinations and Assessment at the Department of Basic Education. He said no candidates would be disadvantaged as a result of the proposed changes.