Johannesburg - The South African education system is ready for the 2016 final examinations, monitoring body Umalusi said on Thursday.
"Umalusi is satisfied with the preparations for the end-of-year exams, and is confident that the general education system is adequately prepared to run these assessments successfully," it said in a statement.
At every stage during the conduct and administration of exit point examinations, Umalusi assured that it had applied rigorous quality assurance methods to gauge the readiness of assessment bodies to administer fair and credible examinations without systemic irregularities.
"All examination papers are moderated and approved by Umalusi before they can be written by the learners," it said.
Umalusi also highlighted that it had noted with regret that last year's final National Senior Certificate examinations had been marred by paper leakages in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
"The safety and security of examination materials has obviously become one of our focal points in the preparations for the 2016 examinations.
"As we did in the past two years, drastic measures will be taken against all learners, educators and departmental officials who are found guilty of copying, paper leakages and other forms of cheating," it said.
The monitoring body said it was, however, pleased with a report that most provinces had improved their systems, based on the concerns raised by the body previously.
But this did not mean that Umalusi did not have outstanding concerns regarding the upcoming national examinations, it said.
"Key among these concerns is the status of storage facilities in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape, especially at nodal distribution points.
"Also, both Eastern Cape and Limpopo still need to address the issue of staff shortages."
Because of this, Umalusi had recommended to the Department of Basic Education that intensive monitoring of these provinces be instituted to mitigate possible unintended consequences of this.
"For its part, Umalusi will also intensify its monitoring where it deems it necessary to do so," it added.