Quality assurance body Umalusi has approved the release of last year’s matric results, saying the department of basic education has managed to maintain the integrity of last year’s matric examinations.
At a media conference held in Pretoria on Friday, Umalusi, whose mandate is to quality assure the entire education system, gave the department the green light to release the results on Monday.
Umalusi chairperson John Volmink told a group of journalists: “Umalusi is pleased to report that the 2019 national examinations went smoothly, without any systemic irregularities. Systemic irregularities are exam irregularities that compromise the integrity of examinations on a large scale, for example, paper leakages that have the potential to affect an entire subject in a circuit, district, province or nationwide.
“Each academic year seems to bring a new set of challenges in the conduct and administration of the national senior certificate examinations.”
He stressed the fact that the absence of systemic problems doesn’t mean that all the examinations were free of incidents.
“There were incidents, but they were not systemic.” The approval of the release of the results, he said, was guided by the level of compliance with Umalusi’s policies and directives.
“Before such an approval is granted, the Umalusi council has to satisfy itself that no systemic irregularities have occurred to undermine the integrity and the credibility of the examination process. To this end, Umalusi requires that each assessment body provide a report on irregularities.”
Despite all efforts to prevent irregularities, Volmink said Umalusi had instructed the department, the Independent Examinations Board, the SA Comprehensive Assessment Institute and the department of higher education and training to block the results of candidates implicated in fraud.
He also revealed that a number of centres had administered matric exams despite not having received accreditation to do so. Results from these centres will also be blocked.
Umalusi chief executive Mafu Rakometsi said statistics about the number of unregistered centres and implicated candidates were not readily available. Last year’s class, he said, was the sixth Grade 12 cohort to write the curriculum assessment policy statement (Caps), which the department introduced in 2009.
“It was also the second cohort to write the newly introduced technical and technology subjects, as well as SA Sign Language Home Language.”
Just fewer 800 000 full-time and part-time candidates sat for matric exams last year.
Umalusi’s other mandates include moderating and standardising matric results. A total 67 subjects were written, of which 47 were not adjusted following the moderation process.
“Our aim is to leave a majority of the subjects unadjusted,” Volmink said, adding that the 47 subjects amount to 70% of all subjects written last year.
“We take that as an indication of a systemic improvement.”
Umalusi, Vomink said, adjusted upwards Life Sciences, Technical Sciences, Technical Mathematics, Religious Studies and a number of home languages. Subjects which were adjusted downwards include Agricultural Sciences, Information Technology and Business Studies.
Gateway subjects which were not adjusted include Physical Science, Mathematics, Maths Literacy, Geography, History, Life Orientation and Accounting, as well as a number of home languages.
He raised concerns about the lack of improvement in maths.