The department of basic education will present a report on irregularities to Umalusi, the quality assurance body, in February to make a ruling on the integrity, credibility and fairness of this year’s National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations.
This follows the leak of the maths paper 2 and physical science paper 2 matric exam papers from government printers.
Briefing the media in Pretoria on Thursday morning, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the department would continue with the marking and standardisation processes while the its legal team explored avenues to address some of the errors “we have picked in the court judgment delivered last week to set aside the rewriting of the two papers”.
“Marking will commence in earnest on January 4. On February 12, the department will present an irregularities report to Umalusi and thereafter wait for the quality assurance agency to make an announcement on the integrity, credibility and fairness of this year’s NSC examinations,” Motshekga said.
“We are on schedule for the results release on February 22 and candidates should get their statement of results the next day.”
She said that even though the extent of the leaks was not yet known, she could confirm that they were not localised, as was the case in 2016. They were widespread with all nine provinces implicated.
Meanwhile, 45 000 markers were working in 180 centres countrywide and the department was ready for next year’s academic year. Teachers will be back at work on January 25 with school reopening on January 27, she said.
“All provinces have finalised admission processes. District offices will be available to assist parents where the need arises. The main focus of monitoring the school reopening, will be to ensure school readiness for the school calendar next year and that blockages are addressed on time,” she said.
In the wake of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, she said the department had been monitoring the provinces weekly to ensure that all systems were in place to cope and to provide support where it is needed to ensure the smooth reopening and running of schools in the new year.
Motshekga said in the new year, the department would receive 300 000 young employees in schools as part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme to create 200 000 employment opportunities for education assistants and 100 000 for general school assistants.
“The 300 000 employment opportunities, were targeted at young people to strengthen capacity in schools at least until the end of March. More than 65% of the recruits’ details have been captured and this month and next month will be used for training and induction,” Motshekga explained.
“They will work in areas that include information technology and communications, reading, mathematics, robotics and coding. Different organisations, including the Services Sector Education and Training Authorities, have come on board to support the initiative.”
Motshekga said as part of the three-year curriculum recovery plan, from next year the department would implement the recovery annual teaching plans (ATP) from Grade R to 12.
She said the basics of the ATPs was the trimmed curriculum which includes the learning losses to be recovered in each grade.
“We said in May that schooling was not going to be the same with regards to curriculum implementation. We were clear that the impact of Covid-19 would have far-reaching implications and that recovering from the effects of the pandemic, would take place over a three-year period,” she said.
To prepare for next year, Motshekga said the department had also been working with other countries such as Zimbabwe, Namibia, Kenya, Rwanda and beyond to draw on lessons learnt during Covid-19.