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National Senior Certificate Examinations 2016: A system on the rise!

In 2016, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the South African Constitution. The Constitution, signed into law by former President Nelson Mandela, marked one of the most exceptional moments in South Africa’s history. The South African Constitution is regarded as one of the most progressive in the world and enjoys high acclaim internationally. As we celebrate a rising constitutional democracy in South Africa, I am pleased to release the National Senior Certificate Examination Report for the class of 2016. The Class of 2016 entered the education system in 2005, secure in the context of free citizenry in South Africa and a commitment from government to create better life opportunities for all. We value this societal freedom and common citizenry that is constitutionally driven by values of ‘Ubuntu’ and ‘Batho-Pele’, empowering this cohort of learners to successfully build on 20 years of freedom and democracy.

The cornerstone of the democratic era has been an improving education system committed to the pursuit of quality basic education, the necessary raising of standards and careful introspection of progress. Government’s strategy of improving basic education quality has been articulated in the National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030: Our future – Make it work. In this regard, the education sector has aligned its medium-term and annual performance plans towards improving the nutrition of learners, building more safe schools and improving school infrastructure in rural areas, ensuring every child in “no-fee” schools has access to workbooks, improving the competency and

capacity of school principals to be effective leaders and building more teacher development centres to support the improvement in teacher content knowledge and pedagogical practice. It is against these sector inputs and noting that the education enterprise is a highly complex activity where the outcome is based on a multiplicity of factors, that we use the National Senior Certificate examination results, as one of the barometers to evaluate our success.

The Quality Assurance Council, Umalusi, which plays a critical role in upholding the integrity of the NSC examination, has after rigorous verification of all examination processes, approved the results of the 2016 NSC examination. This achievement has been attributed to an examination and assessment system that has engineered a high degree of precision in its administrative systems and processes, set papers that are internationally comparable, improved its marking processes so that competent markers are appointed and trained, and introduced robust quality assurance measures to improve the quality of marking. The strengthened administration processes saw a reduction of group copying and serious irregularities. The regrettable leakage of a Mathematics examination paper in a Limpopo

school was contained and did not disrupt the smooth running of the 2016 NSC examination. Further, it must be acknowledged that the results are subjected to a rigorous standardisation process conducted by Umalusi prior to the release. The NSC examination processes have been consistently reviewed and strengthened over the past 20 years and the qualification is therefore trusted by employers, higher education institutions and the South African public.

The achievement rate of the 2016 NSC cohort has increased from 70,7% in 2015 to 72.5% in 2016.

Congratulations to the Class of 2016! Your hard work has been justly rewarded. You are encouraged to see this achievement as an important milestone to even greater success in furthering your life opportunities in higher education, in the workplace and as valuable citizens in our constitutional democracy. We also thank parents, teachers, principals, teacher unions, communities, district and provincial officials, and social partners for supporting the Class of 2016. We therefore invite all education stakeholders and the broader South African republic to view the results with a sense of ownership and involvement to support the projects, programmes and efforts of the Department in our mission to deliver quality basic education to all learners.

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