The Free State Department of Education is ready to start the 2019 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations, having had the learners commit to the integrity of the process. This was done by asking them to sign a pledge to uphold the principle of honesty and integrity in the examinations.This undertaking was formally committed to at two ceremonies in Bloemfontein and Welkom on Friday (11/10). The examination sittings will run from 23 October to 28 November. The signing of the pledge was done under the theme “95/50 – Support the Class of 2019”, resonating with the department’s target to attain a 95% pass rate and 50% bachelor passes for this year’s Gr. 12 results. In 2018 the province attained second position (87,5%) to Gauteng (87,9%). The Free State achievement was reportedly an improvement from 86,1 % achieved in 2017.Tate Makgoe. the Free State MEC for Education, and Sisi Ntombela, Free State Premier, witnessed the signing ceremonies ahead of the start of the examination. According to the department, approximately 30 000 full-time Gr. 12 learners signed the pledge. This involved all learners in public schools in the province.Independent schools writing the NSC examinations have also been encouraged to commit to the integrity of the examinations by signing the pledge. Howard Ndaba, spokesperson for the department, said the rationale behind the pledge was to assist in curbing and controlling examination irregularities. He said the department had provided all candidates registered to write the 2019 NSC examinations copies of the pledge containing guidelines for the administration. Ndaba said it was also an attempt to adopt a more proactive rather than a reactive approach to the reduction of examination wrongdoing. According to Ndaba, security measures are also in place to further curb irregularities and possible leaking of the question papers. Ndaba said practical exams for Computer Application Technology will be administered today (16/10), with 2 861 learners expected to write at 165 centres. Approximately 338 centres across the province are ready for the start of the examinations, with systems having been developed to ensure that exam scripts are delivered on time to all the districts. Invigilators have also been trained to deal with any challenges they might encounter during the examination process.