Pretoria - The Umalusi council on Friday approved the 2017 matric results – unmarred by any leaked papers for the first time in many years, albeit with provisos for certain incidents of dishonesty and irregularities.
"I can’t remember when last we were able to say there were no leakages," Professor John Volmink, chairperson of the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) said during a media briefing in Pretoria.
He said, besides the fact that there were no reported leakages, there were also no examples of systematic irregularities that marred the actual examination process.
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"The 2017 National Senior Certificate examinations were largely incident free, with a few minor disruptions in some parts of the country," he said.
"This attests to the success of the heightened vigilance and rigid measures put in place by [the] DBE [Department of Basic Education]."
Some individual incidents of dishonesty, however, were noted.
"We are running a huge system…To know how many incidents [of irregularities] would be very difficult but they are very small [in number]…Those are isolated incidents," CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi commented at the same media briefing.
Reported incidents include students who came in with crib notes or a cellphone, as well as some who assisted each other.
In these instances, provisos included that the results of the relevant students would be blocked and further reports would need to be submitted to Umalusi.
An improvement in the quality of question papers was also noted.
Furthermore, there was an increase in the number of raw marks for examinations that were accepted, without the need for standardisation.
"It is pleasing to see that there is a steady upward trend in subjects such as Mathematics, Mathematics Literacy, Physical Science and Life Sciences…It has been a long time since we have been able to leave these subjects raw and unadjusted," said Volmink.
Of the department's matriculation examination results, raw marks were accepted for 38 of its 58 subjects.
Of the Independent Examinations Board’s 61 subjects, raw marks were accepted for 46 of them.
The SA Comprehensive Assessment Institute had raw scores for 18 of its 27 subjects approved.
Umalusi, however, noted concerns that subjects such as Dramatic Arts, Visual Arts and Agricultural Science "need to be given more attention and be afforded the status that they deserve".
More teaching material and resources needed to be provided for these subjects, the council recommended.
In terms of the results of other qualifications, including Engineering Studies N2-N3 examinations, results were approved with provisos linked to the reports of alleged leakages of five question papers and Icass assessment evidence not submitted by some centres. NC(V) Level 2-4 examination were also approved overall with some provisos.
Umalusi said that it continued to monitor the difficulties that some students faced and urged the ongoing strengthening of the education system.
"We cannot rely on the standardisation process," said Volmink.
"We cannot fix the problems in education on graph paper. It has to be on the site of learning."