“As a sector we are cautiously optimistic that all of these efforts will translate into improved outcomes in the 2018 examinations,”
WITH just more than 30 days to go until the 2018 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations, the Basic Education Department (DBE) says it is expecting at least 787 281 pupils to sit for this year’s exams.
Pupils will from October 15, 2018 enter one of the 8 000 examination centres around the country to write their exams.
“The National Senior Certificate examinations are now just 34 days away. This is essentially one month, give or take a few days, before the examinations are under way. We would like to encourage all pupils who are going to be writing these examinations to ensure that they study with earnest in this remaining time,” Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said yesterday.
The minister was speaking at a media briefing, held to update the public on the outcomes of the recent Council of Education Ministers (CEM) meeting.
In terms of system readiness, Motshekga said her department was closely tracking each of the nine provinces in terms of pupil performance data and curriculum coverage, as well as other areas of interest, extremely closely.
“This is to ensure that we can pick up challenges in areas such as curriculum coverage in time to intervene.
“As a sector, we are becoming much more empirical about the way we monitor the system. DBE and provinces continue to harness efforts to appropriately support the class of 2018. Every pupil must be afforded the best possible opportunity to achieve a National Senior Certificate,” said the minister.
Motshekga said that last push initiatives were being implemented across the country based on pupil performance in the midyear examinations.
“As a sector we are cautiously optimistic that all of these efforts will translate into improved outcomes in the 2018 examinations,” she said.
In the Northern Cape the 2018 Grade 12 cohort also received additional support through various programmes conducted by the provincial Department of Education.
“We are confident that these programmes will yield measurable benefits and improve pupil outcomes in the 2018 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination,” department spokesperson, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said recently.
Intervention programmes that unfolded during the first three terms of this year included lock-in sessions for gateway subjects, holiday camps (Autumn and Winter camps), Saturday working sessions for progressed pupils offering Mathematical Literacy, Mathematics and Physical Sciences focused camps for top-achieving pupils, whole school-day teaching conducted in high enrolment districts, psycho-social support provided to pupils in the Frances Baard and John Taolo Gaetsewe districts, mapwork working sessions in all five districts, lead-teachers deployed to schools with poor performance in the gateway subjects, novice teachers support programmes, the distribution of “Mind-the-Gap” books to all high and combined schools, the development of common assessment tasks for selected high enrolment subjects, drama presentations for Home Languages in all five districts, Saturday classes at selected schools, on-site support to all prioritised high and combined schools and extended Spring camps.
Exact details of the number of pupils in the Northern Cape who will be writing the national senior certificate examinations and the number of exam centres will be released during a press conference by the MEC of Education, Martha Bartlett, next month during the signing of the matric pledges.
The Department of Education has meanwhile also announced that from 2019, supplementary exams will no longer take place in March – but rather in June.
“One of the major reasons for this change is through monitoring the system we have noted that on average around 40 000 pupils who enrol for supplementary examinations every year do not turn up to write the examinations. This results in massive wasteful expenditure,” said Motshekga.
By having these examinations in June, the department said it will give adequate time for revision, and pupils can make use of the comprehensive support material provided through the Second Chance Matric Support Programme.
“This second examination is very important as those who do participate often end up doing well,” said the minister.
According to the department, the supplementary exams are bearing fruit as seen with the increase in pupils who obtained the NSC.
In 2018, pupils who wrote the supplementary exam and obtained the NSC increased from 401 435 to 411 523, an increase of 10 088 candidates.
“These are pupils who would otherwise not have had a matric certificate,” said Motshekga.
The total number of candidates that obtained the Higher Certificate has increased from 86 265 to 92 604, an increase of 6 339 candidates.
The number of candidates who obtained admission to Diploma studies increased from 161 333 to 163 702, which is an additional 2 369 candidates.
The number of candidates that obtained admission to Bachelor’s studies has increased from 153 610 to 154 980, translating to 1 370 more candidates compared to the November 2017 NSC examination results.
“We are very optimistic that we will see improvements on these figures when we have the June examination opportunity,” said Motshekga.
As part of its preparations, Motshekga said her department will work closely with the Department of Home Affairs to ensure that all pupils are correctly documented.
“We need to all ensure that pupils have Identity Documents (IDs) for a number of reasons. Among them, pupils who write examinations without Identity Documents often have problems after, and Umalusi will not certificate pupils who do not have IDs,” said the Minister.