Examination Readiness 2018: Department and Umalusi briefing

Basic Education

09 October 2018
Chairperson: Ms N Gina (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Umalusi briefed the Committee on their state of readiness for the 2018 examinations. The DBE’s presentation was in two parts. The first part dealt with learner readiness for the 2018 examinations. A lot of focus has been put into getting learners ready for the 018 examinations and the DBE has taken on a performance impact-based approach. In addition to providing numerous vocational and other tuition programs the DBE has also paid attention to getting teachers, markers, subject advisors and examiners ready for the examinations. The DBE has done thorough oversight visits to all provinces. Where the DBE has found weaknesses, they have informed provinces and they are working to monitor the implementation plans of provinces. The DBE has said that learner readiness should not be taken at the face value of the information provided to the Committee as there is still some time left between the collection of the data and the writing of the examinations. The DBE remains confident that the system is ready for the examinations. The 2018 examinations are also the first examinations where South African Sign Language will be examined as a home language.

Umalusi is confident that they have done sufficient oversight and continue to work hard towards preparing for the final examinations. Umalusi has assessed plans, conducted risk analysis, evaluated the systems in place to reconceptualize the state of readiness for examinations. To monitor the state of readiness for examinations, Umalusi has focused on management, the registration of candidates, school-based assessments, and the printing packaging and distribution of question papers. There is also a big emphasis on how the examinations are conducted . The verification of the state of readiness for all assessments was completed on 4 October 2018. Umalusi has declared that the DBE and Provincial Education Department (PED) s is ready for the 2018 NSC examinations.

The Committee raised a number of concerns around the standardisation of assessments. There were also concerns raised around the administration of the sign language examinations as it is the first time it was being administered. Members of the Committee also wanted to know how equality between learners was upheld during the vocational tuition programs. Members asked questions around the security of question papers, whether the curriculum was covered, how learners who require extra time to write their examinations are accommodated, the readiness of transport for both the learners and officials. Members asked if the matric certificates of November 2017 have been issued. Members spoke to the debate
around the quality of the education and examinations learners are facing and said that Umalusi needs to play a more assertive role in ensuring that the quality of education is up to standard.
 

Meeting report

Introduction and opening remarks

The Chairperson welcomed the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Umalusi. This is the second session where the Committee will be engaging with the DBE and Umalusi on their readiness for the 2018 final examinations for grade 12.

The Director-General for the DBE, Mr Hubert Mweli, apologised on behalf the Minister for Basic Education who was supposed to attend the meeting but had to attend a funeral in the Eastern Cape for the passing away of the MEC for Education in the Eastern Cape.

The Chairperson requested everyone present at the meeting to observe a moment of silence.

Presentation on the Progress Report on The State of Readiness for the 2018 Examinations (see document)

Part A: Learner Readiness

Introduction

Ms Cheryl Weston, Director for Further Education and Training in the Western Cape, said that the DBE is propelled by the ambitious targets as set out by the National Development Plan (NDP) which demands, among other things, access to quality education of the highest standards and to improve learning outcomes in order for South African outcomes to be comparable to other countries around the world.

DBE Organising Themes

Ms Weston said that the DBE has four basic organising themes that is used to guide the work that they do. The first focuses on the analyses of data to firm up plans. The second theme is measuring the impact of the DBE’s interventions to improve learning outcomes. The third theme is assessing the state of readiness for the end of year exams. The fourth theme is the administration of exams and planning for the following year.

National Strategy for Learner Attainment (NSLA)

Ms Weston said that the NSLA drives all strategic interventions at national and provincial level to align the interventions across the sector.. The foundation of the NSLA is the targets set out in the Action Plan to 2019: Toward the realisation of schooling 2030 as well as the goals indicated in the NDP.

NSLA Oversight Visits

Ms Weston said that in order for the DBE to conduct the monitoring of the implementation of their plans they conduct biannual oversight visits in all the provinces. They follow a differentiated approach in terms of the support that is required by each province.

NSLA: 1st Quarter Oversight & Monitoring – Purpose

Ms Weston said the main aim for the DBE’s oversight visits in the 1st Quarter is to ensure there is system-wide functionality and to ensure a seamless delivery of quality learning and teaching. They also look at the alignment between provinces, districts and schools in terms of monitoring and supporting outcomes.

NSLA Oversight Visit Report

Ms Weston said some of the findings of their oversight visits to KwaZulu-Natal indicate that the analysis of learner performance and interventions were done at a very superficial level. Districts and circuit managers conducted training session with SMTs on data analysis and utilisation. In Gauteng the analysis of learner performance and corresponding interventions of a high standard focused very strongly on accountability and leadership. In Mpumalanga there has been significant progress in the filling of vacant curriculum posts.

Support for New Subjects

Ms Weston said this year marks the introduction of new subjects which includes South African sign language as a home language. There is also a full implementation of Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS). 2 which includes technical mathematics and technical sciences.

Curriculum Support Programme

Ms Weston said that a FET teacher support team has been established for South African sign language and part of the support was to develop teacher guides to assist teachers with implementation. In addition, the DBE developed lesson plans for South African sign language, mathematical literacy, and English First Additional Language (EFAL). 10 hours of lessons plans per subject were provided during the spring school classes.

Teacher Training Conducted

Ms Weston said that training has been conducted since its implementation in the lower grades and five- day CAPS for SASL training has been offered to teachers. Assessment and literature training have also been offered as well as five-day training for subject advisors to support South African sign language.

Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) Provisioning

Ms Weston said textbooks have been developed for these subjects in partnership with Sasol-Inzalo (Technical Maths/Sciences).

Exemplars question papers, Practical Assessment Tasks (PATs) and Examination Guidelines

Ms Weston said that all PATs were distributed to provinces and uploaded on the DBE’s website.

Monitoring and Support of Implementation

Ms Weston said 216 schools were monitored on the implementation of CAPS between 2015/16 and 2016/17. These schools are complying with the CAPS prescripts and most schools have minimum tools and equipment in workshops.

ICT Support to provinces

Ms Weston said the DBA provides offline e-textbooks to ensure that accessibility is increased. PDF digital content resources for grade 12 technical mathematics and technical sciences are converted to ePub3 for use on mobile devices. The DBE also uploads their content onto the DBE cloud, the Thutong education portal and the DBE e-library initiative where available libraries are already uploaded.

Generic Learner Support

Ms Weston said most schools provide extra tuition, but it differs from school to school.

Rationale

Ms Weston said the reality is that socioeconomic factors make it difficult for poor or unemployed parents to afford extra tuition for their children. The curriculum that the DBE offers is quite demanding and subject content deficits also impacts on the teaching environment.

DG Monitoring: Free State

Ms Weston said that the Free State focussed on their top achievers and they had a specific Dinaledi program to ensure that they improve the quality of passes.

DG Monitoring: Northern Cape

Ms Weston said that the Northern Cape is working with Stellenbosch University to focus on high flyers and top achievers. In addition, this province also uses the autumn classes to provide support to learners who are at risk of possibly failing.

DG Monitoring: North West

Ms Weston said the Province has been using lecturers from the North West University to teach learners Mathematics and Physical science during the school holidays. The province is also implementing telematic classes to facilitate mathematics and physical science. 

Winter Schools: Scope and Size

Ms Weston said that 237 222 learners received tuition during the winter school time.

Winter Schools: Monitoring

Ms Weston said that the DBE visited a total of 265 winter schools across all provinces. The DBE subject specialists monitored 187 winter schools. The DBE DG visited 78 winter schools.

Focus of Winter School Programmes

Ms Weston said that revision was the main focus for 91.2% of schools.

Duration of Winter School Programs

Ms Weston said that 43.1% of schools offered a winter program of between 8 to 10 days.

Criteria used for Content Selection

Ms Weston said that the biggest driver for content that a school selected was the diagnostic report as well as their own item and error analysis.

Number of Hours Spent per Subject

Ms Weston said that 54.9% of subjects were offered for more than 10 hours per week.

Quality of Teaching Observed

Ms Weston said that the DBE found that at the centres that were monitored, 64.2% of the classes teaching quality was rated as being good.

Learner Experiences

Ms Weston said that 85.3% of learners felt that winter school was helpful.

Winter Schools: Best Practices

Ms Weston said that a number of best practices were developed. All schools are subjected to pre and post-testing during winter schools to monitor the impact of training and also guide further intervention. There was also a marked improvement in the School Governing Body and parental involvement in many of the centres.

Subject-Specific Interventions

Ms Weston said there were also subject specific interventions. For example, in the Eastern Cape, 16 hours of support was provided for Accounting subject advisors around the topic of companies and reconciliations. In the Free State, History students were provided four hours of face to face support on the topic of civil rights movement and answering source-based questions. For physical science in Gauteng, there was a three-day residential workshop for schools that achieved below 60% in 2017 results..

NSLA 3rd Quarter Oversight Visit

Ms Weston said that the 3rd quarter oversight visits were conducted in all of the provinces. The main focus of those visits was to determine the state of learner readiness, the state of progress and implementation of intervention activities and also to determine the state of readiness of schools and the support they provided.

DG’s Engagements

Ms Weston said that the DG conducted nine visits to all provinces. The focus of these engagements was tracking learner performance, reading activities, progress on the implementation of the Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL) and the state of readiness for the administration of examinations.

Has the purpose of the meeting been achieved?

Ms Weston said that all of the provinces strongly agreed that the purpose of the engagements was successful, and the information and guidance provided from the DBE was deemed to be relevant.

Are the learners ready to write the end of the year Exams?

Ms Weston said that with the exception of the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, provinces felt that learners were not as ready as they could be for the examinations.

Is the system ready for the administration of the examinations including the National Senior Certificate (NSC)?

Ms Weston said that the majority of the Provinces either strongly agree or agree that their systems are ready for the examinations.

Tracking Leaner Performance: English First Additional Language

Ms Weston said that Limpopo, North West and Northern Cape’s quarter 2 performances were lower than they were in quarter 2 last year.

Mathematics

Ms Weston said that for mathematics, Limpopo, the Eastern Cape’s and Mpumalanga’s performance was lower than the same quarter for last year.

Life Sciences

Ms Weston said that in the case for life sciences Mpumalanga is the only province that performed lower than it did in the second quarter this year than last year.

Part B: System Readiness

Introduction

Ms Priscilla Ogunbanjo, Director for public examination and assessment-,said that for the 2018 examinations, 787 281 candidates will sit for the NSC examinations across 8000 examination centres.

Current Status

Ms Ogunbanjo said that there has been steady improvement in the quality and standard of question papers. There have been improvements in the security of question papers from origination to writing. There has also been a reduction in group copying and an improvement in the marking quality strategies.

The Focus of the 2018 Intervention

Ms Ogunbanjo said that the focus of the DBE’s intervention was on 6 points:

  1. Review and strengthening of question paper development
  2. Intensive support and monitoring of provincial and district offices
  3. Thorough audit of all storage points, nodal points, distribution points and exam centres
  4. Extensive and focussed monitoring of the writing of the examinations
  5. Robust approach in marker appointments, extensive training of markers and quality marking strategies
  6. Audit of provincial and DBE certification systems and training of staff

Overall progress

Ms Ogunbanjo said that PEDs are currently finalising the registration of candidates and examination centres. Question papers have been set and moderated by Umalusi. The DBE has also conducted audits on storage points, exam centres, marker appointments and district exam systems.

NSC 2017/18

Ms Ogunbanjo said that in 2017 there were a total of 802 431 learners sitting for the examinations, and in 2018 there are a total of 767 077.

Examination Management

Ms Ogunbanjo said that at a provincial level the issue of staff capacity has come up where a number of posts in provinces and districts are vacant.

Registration of Candidates and Centres

Ms Ogunbanjo said that the North West had some challenges with regard to minor changes in provincial school and district demarcation. In Limpopo there was a slowing down in registration due to the change in districts from five to 10. The DBE will allow candidates to register for the 2018 examinations without ID documents although Umalusi will not allow candidates to receive their certificates without ID documents. Registration of public and independent centres have been completed by province.

Administration of SASL HL Examination

Ms Ogunbanjo said that sign language home language (SASL) has been written as a trial examination nationally. These trial examinations were written on 13, 15 and 17 August 2018. Each learner had their own individual cubicle to ensure that no one could see what they were signing. One of the key challenges with the SASL examination was the duration of the examination. The DBE decided to make the duration of the SASL examinations 4 hours. The other major problem was the 10-minute reading time. The DBE has extended the reading time to 20 minutes.

Audit of Storage, Nodal, and Distribution Points; and Examination Centres

Ms Ogunbanjo said that the DBE has completed these audits. Where audits were not up to standards, provinces are busy resolving issues.

Monitoring of Examinations

Ms Ogunbanjo said that monitoring capacity was one of the key challenges. . The intention is to have at least 50% to 70% capacity on a daily basis.

School Based Assessment

Ms Ogunbanjo said that the DBE has completed phase 1 and they are busy completing phase 2. Training of subject advisors was facilitated in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Western Cape and the North West.

Marking

Ms Ogunbanjo said that the DBE has gone to the provinces and audited the list of markers and all the internal moderators. Where the DBE felt the markers and internal moderators did not comply with standards, they have recommended to the provinces to replace those markers and moderators.

Conclusion

Ms Ogunbanjo said that in conclusion the DBE, provinces and partners continue to harness their efforts to appropriately support the class of 2018. Every learner must be afforded the best possible opportunity to achieve a National Senior Certificate. The last push initiatives are being implemented across the country based on learner performance in the midyear examination. The sector is cautiously optimistic that the efforts will translate into improved outcomes in 2018.

The Chairperson thanked the DBE for their presentation. She handed over to Umalusi to give their presentation.

Prof John Volmink, Chairperson of Umalusi, said that Umalusi has a legislative mandate to ensure that assessment bodies such as the DBE and other assessment bodies conduct credible examinations and assessments of the qualifications registered on the general and further education sub-framework. The preparations of the assessment bodies are in progress still and therefore cannot be seen as finalised. He expressed his gratitude at the DBE for making the necessary preparations for the November 2018 NSC examinations thus far.

Presentation on the State of Readiness Report for the 2018 National Senior Certificate Examinations from Umalusi (see Document)

Umalusi mandate and regulatory framework

The CEO of Umalusi, Dr Ms Rakometsi, said that according to the National Qualification Framework (NQF) Act No. 67 of 2008, Umalusi must develop and implement policy and criteria for assessment for the qualifications on its sub-framework; with regards to quality assurance within its sub-framework, do the following:

  1. develop and implement policy for quality assurance;
  2. ensure the integrity and credibility of quality assurance;

ensure that quality assurance as is necessary for the sub-framework is undertaken;
According to Section 17A of the General and Further Education and Training. Quality Assurance Act,:

(3) The Council must, perform the external moderation of assessment of all assessment bodies and education institutions

(4) The Council may adjust raw marks during the standardization process

Framework for Quality Assurance of Assessment

Dr Rakometsi said that Umalusi does the following:

  • Moderation of examination question papers, Practical Assessment Tasks (PAT) and Common Assessment Tasks in the case of Life Orientation
  • Monitoring and moderation of School Based Assessment (SBA)
  • Monitoring the state of readiness to conduct, administer, and manage examinations
  • Monitoring of the conduct, administration and management of assessment and examination processes
  • Monitoring and moderation of marking
  • Management of concessions and examination irregularities
  • Standardisation of assessment outcomes
  • Certification

Reconceptualised State of Readiness (SOR)

Dr Rakometsi said that the state of readiness was conducted as a once-off event rather than a process. In 2017 Umalusi conducted an independent SOR and audited the PEDs. Now in 2018 Umalusi has re-conceptualized the approach to the evaluation of the State of Readiness of the assessment bodies and adopted a risk management-based approach for the conduct of SOR.

Phase 1 requires that Umalusi get the assessment body Annual Plans including from the DBE. The DBE had to submit improvement plans and progress reports on improvement of directives issued at the conclusion of the previous examination cycles. They would then have to submit annual management plans. Umalusi does desktop evaluation through the submission of completed self-evaluation instruments and the quarterly submission of progress reports to cover activities undertaken in that quarter.

Phase 2 is where Umalusi would deal with risk analysis and feedback. Here Umalusi uses submitted self-evaluation reports to assess the level of preparedness of the assessment bodies. This phase was used to analyse information gathered and identify the risks or gaps that might impact on the delivery of a credible examination. The identified gaps or potential risks inform the verification audits which Umalusi undertakes. 

In phase 3 Umalusi uses summative evaluation. This process is used to evaluate the systems, and related evidence as outlined in the self-evaluation report and/or any other reports received. Verification audit instruments are administered during the on-site verification visits, and the assessment bodies are informed of the identified risks and are required to address them before the examinations commence.

Findings on State of Readiness to conduct, administer and manage the 2018 National Senior Certificate examinations: Monitoring the State of Readiness Focus Areas

Ms ML Madelani, Senior Manager for quality assurance at Umalusi, took the Committee through this part of the presentation.

Focus area 1 is on management. The shortage of staff and the capped overtime as determined by Department of Public Service and Administration has been flagged across the nine PEDs as an area with serious and high risk that has a potential to impact on the delivery of credible November 2018 NSC examination cycle in terms of the following processes:

  • dispatch of question papers to schools and daily receipt of scripts back from schools;
  • capturing of external examination written marks and School Based Assessment
  • the general running of marking centres for administrative and support staff.
  • The processing of examination related claims, for markers etc.
  • The processing of results.

Free State and Eastern Cape

  • The budget cut, which the two PEDs reported, will have an impact on the management of key examination activities. PEDs have made submissions to their Heads of Department for additional funding.
  • Late approvals of the requests for extra funds might result in the non-payment of markers.

KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, North West and Eastern Cape

  • High vacancy rate in critical areas within examinations directorates was identified in the four PEDs. These were largely  due to the following factors:

     - Moratorium on appointment of staff;

     - Large number of unfilled posts after the retirement of some staff.

Focus area 2 deals with the registration of candidates.

  • Registration of candidates has been finalised in all the nine PEDs.
  • The DBE is currently verifying the registrations.  The verified numbers will inform the printing of question papers.
  • Process of registration of candidates with immigrant status  has been finalised and implementation of the policy was adhered to across nine PEDs.
  • The nine PEDs complied with the requirement for approval and granting of concessions.
  • All candidates who qualify for language concession have been correctly identified.
  • PEDs used different platforms for registration of candidates, e.g. some capture data from entry forms, others use South African Schools Administration and Management System (SASAMS), Western Cape makes use of Central Education Management Information System (CEMIS) and others capture and promote candidates on the system from grade 11 to grade 12.
  • The Department of Basic Education has indicated that they would like to implement SASAMS across all nine provinces.

Focus area 3 is on school based assessments.

  • Lack of coordination between the Curriculum and the Examinations and Assessment directorates was noted in the education departments of the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.
  • A high shortage of subject advisors for subjects with a practical component was noted in the education departments of KZN, Free State, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
  • In the North West Education Department, district cluster monitoring of SBA was organised;
  • An improvement in the monitoring of the moderation plans for PATs and Orals and their reporting was noted in KZN Education Department.
  • Immediate feedback was provided to schools after provincial moderation in the following PEDs, Western Cape, Gauteng AND North Cape.

Conclusion

  • Umalusi verification of the state of readiness of all the assessment bodies was concluded on 4 October 2018.
  • Assessment bodies are furnished with letters communicating identified risks to enable them to address the concerns before the commencement of the November 2018 NSC examinations.
  • Based on the report on the SOR of the PEDs  Umalusi declares the DBE and PEDs ready to conduct the 2018 NSC examinations, taking into account the issues that need to be addressed prior to commencement of the examinations.
  • Umalusi is in the process of appointing monitors who are conversant with the sign language.
  • The SASL HL task team where Umalusi is represented is attending to the following:
  • Applications for concession for writing
  • Norm time for marking
  • Umalusi will hold a media briefing on the state of readiness of the Assessment bodies to conduct the November 2018 NSC examinations on 12 October 2018.

Discussion

Ms H Boshoff (DA) raised concern over the inequality of education and specifically the standard of education in rural areas. How many examination centres are there and will there be a technician on duty in the event of any technical problems arising? Does every laptop have a webcam and the Adobe flash player? When will the examination papers be downloaded onto learners’ computers? How will the DBE ensure that all examination centres have sufficient CDs to download learners’ examinations? How will the issue of markers being paid late be addressed?

Ms J Basson (ANC) asked how sure the DBE is that the curriculum was covered, and learners are ready to write the examinations. Are the examinations written by grade 3 learners set nationally or provincially? How are we ensuring that learners who require extra time to write their examinations are accommodated in schools that do not have the capacity to apply for extra time on behalf of those learners? How were the people who came up with the pre-written questions selected? How ready is the transport for both the learners and officials? What will happen in the case where the extra funding some provinces applied for, is not given? How is the DBE addressing the problem of some districts not having sufficient staff? Have the matric certificates, not the results, of November 2017 been issued already?

Ms N Tarabella-Marchesi (DA) said it is one thing for the DBE to be ready to examine learners but it is a different thing for the learners to be ready to write the examinations. In the North West some schools were not ready to write examinations because they lacked resources and capacity to fulfill the curriculum. Are the learners ready to write the exams? She raised concern over some textbooks being only available in one language. The policy of the retrieval of textbooks has also been overlooked at this time and the AG says it has never been finalised.

Mr H Khosa (ANC) said he is very excited and happy with the preparations for the examinations but concerned over the lack of infrastructure in some schools. What type of security will guard examination papers at schools? Security guards at schools are often short staffed and not well equipped. What is the remedy for learners who do not have credible identification cards needing to write the examinations? Do the ITC resources cover lower grades as well? Based on the preliminary examinations in September, does the Department foresee an increase in the number of learners passing grade 12?

Mr A Botes (ANC) encouraged the DBE and Umalusi to continue with the work they have done. He said that everybody involved needs to be ready to be accountable for the processes ahead. The DBE needs to be vigilant that there is no encouragement for learners not to sit for their examinations. What was Plan B once the remuneration ceiling of invigilators in the Eastern Cape is reached? There has been a debate around the quality of the education and examinations learners are facing. Umalusi needs to play a more assertive role in ensuring that the quality of education is up to standard. Overall, he is very satisfied with the presentations from the DBE and Umalusi on the state of readiness for the exams.

The Chairperson said that not all learners and all schools participate in vocational learning programs and camps. Is it not high risk to allow learners to register to write the final examinations without IDs? Is there still language compensation? How is security being assured for examination papers that gets stored at schools?

Mr Mweli requested that questions related to the AG be delayed until the next meeting because he does not want to say things about the AG in their absence particularly on curriculum coverage.

The Chairperson requested Mr Mweli to answer the question on curriculum questions, but if need be, to abstain from discussion on the AG until the next meeting.

Mr Mweli said that while the AG goes around once a year the DBE does so at least six times a year. The DBE has even provided evidence of tracking learner performance. The DBE has never claimed that there is perfect curriculum coverage. Curriculum coverage is an ongoing exercise that the DBE is monitoring at all levels. There has been a shift in the focus of the DBE from how much they spend on learner activities to the impact of learner programs on learner performance. Provinces are also taking learner support programs on a differentiated basis. He mentioned a few of his visits to various provinces and schools where he had personal experiences of the different approaches to learner support programs. The information the DBE shared with the Committee in this meeting is not all the information and a final report is yet to be submitted to the Committee and to Umalusi as the final evidence-based report. Over the last three years there has been a marked improvement in the performance of schools especially in rural areas.

Mr Mweli said that some provinces make use of private security to secure exam papers while some even make use of SAPS.

Mr Mweli wrote to the DG and the Minister for Public Service and Administration because policy did not allow for extra earnings for markers to exceed 30%. They have now relaxed that policy and now it should no longer be a problem. He said that although there may be some differentiation, the general trend is that most provinces write common papers, which means that it is standardised assessments.

The DBE is not doing well in catering for learners that require extra time to write their examinations. The bulk of learners who are given extra time to write examinations are from the Western Cape and most of them are from affluent communities. He has raised this issue and they are looking at how best to insulate learners who really deserve extra time.

There is still time for learners to get ready to write examinations as the DBE’s assessments were done in August, therefore the data presented to the Committee should be taken in context. Textbook retrievals are being done, schools and provinces have policies but there needed to be a national policy around this issue. Although there are infrastructure challenges the DBE always ensure that they do not really affect the running of exams. Many schools actually started extra tuition at the beginning of the year.

Ms Ogunbanjo said that there will be 10 centres where SASL examinations will be conducted. There are technicians on duty and they do have protocols with regards to the content of those examinations. The technicians will not however be in the exam room, because the trial examinations showed that they are a distraction. The training for invigilators is currently happening for those schools.

The digitization of the examination papers for SASL is the same as the current ones for CAT and IT. She said that the selection and governance of markers and examiners are all within policy and guidelines.

The Chairperson asked if there have been any instances where examiners fail the tests.

Ms Ogunbanjo said that there are some instances where examiners fail, since the benchmark is set at a distinction.

No examination papers are being stored at schools as they are being stored at storage points and nodal points. If a school does become a storage point, the same security protocols would be followed as in any other case.

Dr Rakometsi said all the 2017 exam certificates have been issued. Only one province, Northern Cape, still needed to finalise its supplementary data set.

Dr Rakometsi said that they do pay close attention to where focus has been put by provinces and where there has been a lack of focus, Umalusi would focuses on this. Umalusi cannot provide any remedial actions because the DBE is the provider of education and runs examinations.

Umalusi decided to allow learners to register to write examinations without IDs. This would not cause a problem such as ghost writers because the principal and teachers can attest to the identity of a student.

He said speculating on the outcome of an examination is dangerous and he would rather not do that. He is confident that South Africa is benchmarked and is running a system that is credible. Umalusi takes standardisation very seriously and regularly advocates for it. With standardisation he is sure Umalusi is not watering down any quality.

Language compensation still remains since language is a very sensitive and complex problem. Students, whose first language is not English or Afrikaans, do not have a fall back if they do not understand a question in the examinations.

Prof Volmink said that a trust deficit is applied unduly to most institutions and Umalusi is suffering under that. The standardisation method is nothing new. The people who develop the standardisation, make that decisions based on a subject by subject basis, not on the overall pass rate. He said he believes that South Africa is a country on the rise and Umalusi tries its best to serve its purpose with dedication and commitment.

The Chairperson thanked the DBE and Umalusi for the time and presentations.

The Meeting was adjourned.

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