All systems go for matric exams

2013-10-14 12:34

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It’s all systems go for the matric exams.

Umalusi, the body responsible for assuring the quality of the national senior certificate, says preparations have been finalised for the 707 136 Grade 12s who begin writing their finals later this month.

Addressing the media at the University of Johannesburg today, Umalusi’s chief executive Dr Mafu Rakometsi said: “Our system is ready for the 2013 matric exams. The task of administering such exams is huge, but we have proven that we are up to the task.”

“Our schooling examination system is ready to take up this challenge. We have a moral duty to ensure that matric exams are fair and credible.”

Rakometsi said those who were writing the exams were “the born-frees” who “were born in 1995” and he welcomed them into adulthood.

“We wish them nothing but success in the future.” The body approaches matric exams with great seriousness as the result of the amount of public scrutiny, Rakometsi said.

A total of 707 136 pupils will sit for the matric exams this year in 6 900 centres. They will be overseen by about 65 000 invigilators and will be marked by more than 35 000 markers in 118 marking centres.

Umalusi’s Vijayen Naidoo said the body was concerned about the high number of independent examination centres.

“Almost all irregularities happen in these centres.”

Matric papers, he said, which are set by the department of basic education, go through a rigorous quality-assurance process.

“The department sends the papers to its own moderators. From there, they come to us for moderation by a team of educational experts. Before they are sent for printing, somebody checks them for the last time,” he said, adding that Umalusi had previously sent question papers back to the department for reworking if it was not happy with their quality.

Umalusi has already approved about 130 question papers for this year. A further 128 supplementary exam question papers have also received the green light.

“Overall, Umalusi is satisfied with the preparation of the end-of-year exams, and is confident that the general education system is adequately prepared to run these assessments successfully. That is not to say, however, that Umalusi does not have concerns regarding the upcoming national examinations,” the body said in a statement.

“Key among these concerns is the status of Limpopo and the Eastern Cape, as provinces in which the education departments are currently under administration.”

Rakometsi said as much as he could put his head on the block that this time around there would be no question-paper leakages in Mpumalanga, he could not be sure that a “rotten apple” would not trick the system.

Mpumalanga had become notorious for leaking question papers over the years.

But he added that “their systems are running like a well-oiled machine now and have military precision”.

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