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Final countdown to matric exams

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The Northern Cape has registered 143 NSC centres, which include six independent centres and one correctional centre

File picture: Pixabay

THE 2018 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations kick off across the Northern Cape on Monday.

The Northern Cape Department of Education yesterday indicated that it had registered a total of 12 198 full-time candidates, an increase of 1 679 candidates compared to the 10 519 full-time candidates registered in 2017.

Of the 12 198 full-time candidates, 2 643 are progressed pupils which, when including part-time candidates, increases the total number of candidates to 14 263.

The Mec for Education, Martha Bartlett, said yesterday that progressed candidates may opt for the Multiple Examination Opportunity (MEO) during the 2018 examinations.

“If any of the 12 198 full-time candidates fail to complete the entire NSC examinations or progressed pupils choose to make use of the Multiple Examination Opportunity, their results will not be taken into consideration for the 2018 NSC results,” Bartlett stated.

The Northern Cape has registered 143 NSC centres, which include six independent centres and one correctional centre.

The 2018 NSC examinations will commence on October 15 and conclude on November 28. Marking centres will open on December 1 and answer scripts and question papers will be delivered to marking centres. The marking session will commence on December 1 and conclude on December 15. Marking centres will officially close on December 15 and the capturing of results on December 17. The Umalusi Standardisation meeting is scheduled for December 23 and all statements of results will be at schools by January 3, 2019.

The national Minister of Basic Education will release the national NSC results on January 3, 2019, at 6pm, during a press conference.

The Northern Cape will release the provincial results on January 4, 2019, which will be followed by the Matric Awards ceremony on the same day.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) indicated that the 2018 NSC was another “large examination” comprising a total of 796 542 candidates, writing the exams across 6 888 examination centres across South Africa.

The number of full-time candidates is 629 141 and the number of part-time candidates is 167 401.

On Monday, October 15, the first practical examinations in Computer Examinations Technology (CAT) will be administered to 37 340 candidates. This will be followed by the practical examination for Information Technology, which will be administered to 4 170 candidates on Tuesday, October 16.

The 2018 NSC examination will get off to a full start on Monday, October 22, with the writing of the exam in the Non-Official Languages.

The DBE yesterday said that it had “left no stone unturned in its bid to ensure a credible and integrous NSC examination”.

“The DBE has embarked on an intensive review of all its systems and processes and has taken cognisance of the limitations that may have presented a challenge in previous years and all these have been thoroughly addressed.

“For the first time this year, the DBE will be administering an examination in South African Sign Language at Home Language level to 58 deaf candidates across 10 schools. The question papers will be signed and learners will respond by signing and this will be recorded using the appropriate technology. The DBE has piloted its assessment processes in this regard, and we don’t foresee any difficulties with this examination,” DBE spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, said.

Mhlanga added that another first for the department was the writing of the examination in Technical Mathematics and Technical Science.

“The offering of these two subjects is in sync with the intention of the department to provide a broader scope of subject offerings for pupils, so as to allow for a stronger vocational slant in the curriculum,” Mhlanga said.

A total of 147 NSC question papers have been set, internally moderated by the DBE and approved by Umalusi. The question papers have been adapted for the blind and deaf candidates. Brailing of question papers for the blind and enlargements of font sizes for the partially sighted has also been completed. Printing and packing of the question papers by the provincial Education Departments is at an advanced stage.

An aspect of the system that the department has honed in on in 2018 is the different points at which the question paper is stored en route to the schools. The department has audited each of these points and only those points that comply with the stringent criteria are allowed to store question papers. These storage points will be closely monitored by the provincial Education Departments and the national department.

The department has also engaged the services of all the security agencies who will assist in maintaining a presence where necessary and will respond to requests at short notice.

The other strategy employed by the department to strengthen the administration of the examination, is the categorisation of examination centres based on the risk profile of the examination centres and monitoring is customised to suit the risk profile.

Examination centres that were implicated in any kind of examination malpractice in previous years will be monitored by a resident monitor based at the school.

In addition, the department has intensified the invigilator training and targeted the standardisation of procedures across districts, which are the drivers of this training.

Schools will exercise zero tolerance in ensuring that any pupil that attempts to resort to any unfair practice will be identified and severely punished.

Markers have been appointed and trained across all nine provinces. Here again the department has conducted an audit of marker appointments to ensure that only those that satisfy the criteria are appointed.

A total of 44 505 markers have been appointed to mark across the 141 marking centres.

To ensure that every subject is marked according to a common standardised marking guideline, a total of 155 national meetings will be hosted at the DBE, where chief markers and internal moderators from all provinces will assemble to thrash out the marking guideline and ensure that a common understanding is reached in this regard.

Marking will commence on December 1 across most PEDs, except for the larger provinces where marking will start earlier to ensure that all marking is completed by December 15.

Today, candidates across the country will voluntarily sign a pledge to commit to upholding the integrity of the examinations by not participating in any malpractice.

In Kimberley, the Provincial Pledge Signing Ceremony will take place at Kimberley Boys’ High School this morning.