Cut matrics some slack, MEC tells parents

2011-10-12 12:44

With just four days to go before the start of this year’s National Senior Certificate Examinations, the MEC for education in KwaZulu-Natal has urged parents not to send Grade 12 learners on “unnecessary errands” and to rather give them sufficient time to study.

Addressing the media at the department’s Truro House in Durban, MEC Senzo Mchunu boasted about an elaborate plan to ensure a secure examination process and a watertight cascading model chosen to train their invigilators.

“The provincial examination and assessment directorate has conducted extensive workshops for district officials in preparation for the training of chief invigilators across the province to reinforce the issue of monitoring, invigilation and prevention of irregularities.

“The main focus of the training is quality invigilation and prevention of irregularities,” Mchunu told journalists.A threefold monitoring process will be implemented.

This will include monitoring the printing process, as well as monitoring nodal points, which include all collection and submission points, and the monitoring of the exam centres.

Matric exams start on Monday, October 17, with practical subjects.

This will continue until the last paper, which will be written on Friday, December 1.

Approximately 9 170 markers will be appointed to undertake the marking of scripts in 29 marking centres. All marking is expected to be concluded by December 15 and captured by December 18 for the release of the results on January 5.

KwaZulu-Natal has 127 044 full-time pupils writing this year. This makes up just more than a quarter of the 512 029 who will be sitting for the exam nationally.

Meanwhile, the province has more than 23 000 repeaters who have registered for the exam this year.

The head of department, Dr Nkosinathi Sishi, said despite the gap between the “haves and the have-nots” that still exist in the province, the 70.7% pass rate received last year was proof that the gap is closing.

“We achieved 70.7% last year through hard work and we did the same this year. That’s how both the MEC and I can express such optimism about learner readiness.

Saturday classes were conducted and are still ongoing as a result of collaborations with teacher unions,” said Sishi.

This, along with the provincial intervention plan which included functionality visits to schools that scored 60% and less in last year’s exams, is expected to reduce the number of schools that achieved 0-20%.

Mchunu said they expected a pass rate of nothing less than 70.7% this year.

Where irregularities were recorded during last year’s exams, the department has appointed outsiders to monitor those schools as an extra precaution, Mchunu said.

On the training of markers, which has proved to be a thorny issue for some teachers in the province, Sishi said it should not be taken to be the department’s opinion that the quality of “our teachers” is poor.

He said no teacher will be appointed to mark a subject they don’t teach. Even in the event of scarce subjects, that person must have had involvement in the past three years, at least.

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