The choices we made in recent years in education policy were correct. The standard can only go up. There’s evidence also in our rising exams and assessment credibility.
From next week, 28 October, our learners will write matric exams, until 29 November, in 6699 examination centres. This is a critical time in their lives having given around 12 years to the schooling system. Even for parents, and society, it’s important.
We request families to assist learners, by providing among other support systems a right climate for study at home. If we all play our roles, we will sustain the gains we’ve made in education and take huge steps in our quest for excellence.
The 2013 supplementary exam results increased the 2012 pass rate from 73.9 to 75.7%. We’re doing more to build on this. Examinations are a massive operation. The total number of candidates registered for 2013 exams is 707 136. There are 576 490 full-time candidates and 130 646 part-time candidates.
The full-time enrolment represents an increase of 49 155 candidates compared to 2012. This is in keeping with the upward trend observed since 2011. Registered candidates for Maths are 245 663, that’s an increase of 15 469. Enrolment in Physical Science has increased from 182 083 to 187 170.
Our exams are benchmarked against other systems internationally. For instance in 2007 and 2011, our Department benchmarked some NSC subjects with the Scottish Qualification Authority, Cambridge International Examinations and the Board of Studies New South Wales (Australia).
In keeping with our inclusive education policy, we adapted question papers for the blind, partially-sighted and deaf candidates. Brailing of adapted papers for the blind was completed in mid-September.
To minimise risk, provinces have adopted a new approach to delay printing. Storage facilities have been inspected and security improved at distribution points. To promote compliance with the exam code of conduct candidates signed a Pledge.
For tighter control, all scripts will be barcoded and scanned so that the number of scripts received will be controlled at key-points of the script-flow process.
We have norm-times for the return of scripts between the different collection points. This implies scripts must be returned to specific points on the return route, within specified times.
There are 118 marking centres. Training of markers is on-going and specialised training will be conducted before marking sessions. The results will be released on 7 January 2014.
There will be a new Statement of Results for the November 2013 NSC exams. It has special security features including the RSA Watermark and a unique serial number.
As I’ve said, we’ve done our best to prepare the system and learners. Targeted interventions were activated with provinces to support learners and schools throughout the year – a relatively stable year I must say, for education.
Provinces have conducted winter classes in order to improve learner performance particularly in underperforming schools.
The main reasons for progress that we now see in the education sector include our sustained focus on the 3Ts of the Teacher, Text and Time on Task.
Through the implementation of a National Strategy for Learner Attainment we have increased curriculum coverage, Learner Teacher Support Materials’ coverage and utilization.
Other fundamental innovations include the incremental introduction of African languages in schools, for all learners, in the interest of nation-building, social cohesion and creation of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist African state.
Guided by the Teacher Collaboration Framework, we’ve prioritised teacher development with the support of unions and non-profit organisations that run capacity-building programmes for teachers in districts and schools.
The teacher qualification profile has improved greatly between 1990 and 2010, from 53.0 to 95.1.
We have a solid foundation for an education system for a knowledge-based global economy. Education standards are continuing to improve because of strategic plans and interventions we have put in place as I have reported to the nation. Transforming education is a journey, not a destination.