Officials and Staff
It gives me great pleasure and immense pride to be standing here and addressing you on this, our last meeting for the 2018 academic year. It has been a tough, but yet another promising year full of hope for our young people who have their eyes set on the future.
One must acknowledge the labour peace that we have experienced this year. I must congratulate our teacher unions and social partners in making sure that no teaching time was lost this year as a result of industrial action. This should signal the best for our expectations with regards to the Class of 2018 as we conclude the year – improved learner performance.
2018 has been a special year in our country as we celebrated the lives and times of the icons of our struggle, the late President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu. During this year of their centennial birthdays, we recalled that both their lives were solely dedicated to the service of humanity. They did so without any expectation of personal reward or glory. They were truly exemplars of probity, and true servants of our people. As we confront the challenges of the present, we continue to draw lessons and inspiration from both their lives.
As we take stock of what we have achieved this year notwithstanding the challenges, we want to reflect on learner performance as a proxy of the health of the education system. This is part of a periodic dipstick that we use to measure how far we have come so that we can strengthen the interventions and programmes going into 2019.
We will reflect on 2018 looking ahead to 2019. I am, aware that provinces will make presentations on their targets and the expected 2018 National Senior Certificate examinations results.
We will also share and consolidate action on the implementation of the key 2018 CEM Curriculum-related decisions. Most important is for us to come out of this meeting ready for the 2019 academic year that will this time start early for everybody, inland and coastal.
Deputy Minister and I previously requested that we focus on the strengthening of plans and implementation of the three key deliverables identified by the sector to be pushed before the end of the term of office of the current administration namely:
- The use of ICTs to strengthen teaching and learning; and
- Development of a coherent programme to address the challenges that beset the sector, i.e. Reading, Infrastructure, HIV/AIDS, and Teacher Provisioning and Development.
These are challenges that still continue to nag us. We would like you to provide tangible and workable solutions that will form part of our handover report to the next administration.
At the basic education level, the modernisation of the classroom has become a phenomenon of the global society. Teaching approaches are beginning to change in all countries, especially leading countries in education, such as Finland and Singapore.
South Africa cannot be left behind. The progress we are seeing in Gauteng and the Western Cape, vis-à-vis the modernisation of the classroom, with the Eastern Cape and Free State following suit, is encouraging to say the least. The alignment of content and teaching methodology to real life situations in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution, are therefore imperative.
On the science and technology in education front, Government has already finalised detailed plans with key stakeholders, using the Operation Phakisa methodology, to enable the successful use of ICTs in education. This includes the provision of core connectivity to schools, development of learner materials, more effective use of ICTs in the administration, and evidence-based improvement of the education system. Equally, the preparation of teachers for an education system more strongly underpinned by ICTs has begun in earnest.
With respect to technological capability, Government has been investing in building core capability in areas crucial for the 4th Industrial Revolution. We have managed to develop significant capabilities in areas ranging from data science, storage and processing, to additive manufacturing, nanotechnology and robotics. We are starting to build capability in areas, such as block-chain technology.
In all of these areas, South Africa benefits from mutually beneficial and active partnerships with researchers and technologists from other parts of the world.
When we reflect on the work we have done so far, the following quintessential observations remain pertinent in the trajectory of our journey as a sector –
- We have successfully created a single seamlessly integrated education sector, based on the values and principles enshrined in our Constitution, as well as the regional, continental and international protocols.
- We have accelerated the implementation of the principles of social justice, namely access, redress, equity and inclusivity, and made progress in efficiency and quality outcomes to afford lifelong educational opportunities to our young people.
- We have brought about stability in curriculum implementation, which has led to a sustained improvement of the teaching and learning outcomes, and strengthened our National Curriculum Statements through the introduction of the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), which is viewed as one of the best in the world.
- We have repositioned, realigned, and strengthened the basic education sector, in preparation for providing young people with skills, competencies, and knowledge for the changing world. This we continue to do through the implementation of the Three-Stream Curriculum Model, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Entrepreneurship programmes, and the UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education Framework for Future Skills and Competencies.
- We have established a solid foundation for accountability, and provided strategic leadership in provincial efforts to provide quality education through monitoring, evaluation and reporting on key activities focusing on our core business of teaching and learning in the classroom.
- Despite these achievements we are the first to acknowledge that, while we have made such good progress in our journey towards a democratic South Africa and its basic education system we desire, we are still striving for the foundational skills of reading, writing and counting (arithmetic), as well as having the basic necessities in place for quality teaching and learning to take place, especially in the early Grades.
It is once again that time of the year when all of us are waiting with bated breath the results of the matric class of 2018. We are happy that the examinations happened relatively smooth this year without any major incidents or irregularities reported. The examinations were free of any major incident, and irregularities.
We would like to thank all teachers who worked tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that learners were adequately prepared. We also extend a word of gratitude to those that worked in the examination value chain for ensuring that the integrity of the NSC Examinations was upheld.
It cannot be over-emphasised that the National Senior Certificate is the gateway to the future of our learners, their families, and society at large. The Matric certificate is a gateway document that learners need to use for the rest of their lives, whether it is applying for a job, or post schooling study opportunities ---they will always be asked to produce the National Senior Certificate.
We have put much of our efforts into ensuring that we continuously improve the education system, thus we must continue to increase the cognitive demands of our learners. We really don’t want to get too hung up on percentages. We want to see more learners who took Maths and Science passing. We want to see percentages of learners who pass with 50% and above increasing, so the focus has shifted from average pass percentages to the quality of those passes.
This year, 2018, saw a total of 796 542 learners participating in the 2018 NSC examinations. A total of 147 Grade 12 papers were set. The NSC examination is the culmination of a number of efforts by the department to get the system functioning optimally, and delivering quality basic education to all learners.
Marking of examinations has already commenced on the 1st of December and will be concluded by the 15th of December 2018.
We are going to hear from you what your expectations or predictions are with regard to learner performance especially in the NSC examinations. We know that you have focused on ensuring that you provide adequate support to learners.
Based on the profile of the 2018 learner cohort, the support and interventions provided in the system, we are confident that learners will do well this year.
As I conclude, we will release the 2018 NSC Examination results on the evening of Thursday 03rd of January 2019 and candidates will be able to access their results from Friday 04th of January 2019 through the Department’s website, and other various media outlets.
I wish you well as you finalise the end of year examinations and assessments results for 2018. Finally, let me take this opportunity to wish you all over the festive season with your loved ones. Please come back refreshed with the necessary energy and vigour to kick 2019 academic year on a positive note.