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Portfolio Committee on Basic Education is briefed on the NSC examination

Dr Granville Whittle, Acting Director-General for the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and senior management members of the Department attended a briefing session with the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on 9 November 2021. This comes in the wake of serious concerns expressed by MPs, the DBE and Umalusi over the problem of load-shedding affecting the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination.

Dr Whittle said that the Department identified electricity supply as a risk to the NSC examination and therefore had teams from the Department and Eskom working together over the past few months to try to find a resolution to the challenges. Mr Mathanzima Mweli, Director-General for the DBE, had spoken to the Director-General of Public Enterprises, Mr Kgathatso Tlhakudi, for an urgent meeting with Eskom to find resolutions to these challenges. “Unfortunately, our efforts to work with Eskom have not been very successful and it has compromised, obviously, the process of the examination,” he added.

Dr Rufus Poliah, Chief Director for Public Examinations and Assessments, said that they had asked the Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) to make provision for generators during the process of capturing marks from the exam scripts because the period for mark capture is very limited and we cannot have Eskom interrupting plans.

Ms Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education Chairperson, also expressed concerns over load-shedding during the writing of the NSC examination.

During the briefing, the DBE reminded the Committee of the challenges faced by the Class of 2021. Rotational attendance in 2020 due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a loss of learning and teaching time. Consequently, the 2021 matriculants have had to make up the curriculum that was not completed last year. Furthermore, the class also started the year later, once again due to the pandemic. The Committee was assured that with additional programmes, such as the autumn and spring vacation schools, the sector has tried to make up for lost learning time. Approximately 20 days were gained through this programme, combined with e-learning and revision. In general, Umalusi reported that it has evaluated the DBE and PEDs’ state of readiness to administer the NSC examination, and found that all measures were put in place to ensure credible examinations.

The 2021 NSC examination began on 27 October 2021, and will conclude on 7 December 2021. Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to announce the national results on 20 January 2022, with results made available at schools the following day.

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