Question NW113 to the Minister of Basic Education

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22 February 2019 - NW113

Profile picture: Boshoff, Ms SH

Boshoff, Ms SH to ask the Minister of Basic Education

(1)What number of (a)(i) deaf and (ii) hearing impaired learners from each province enrolled for the 2018 National Senior Certificate (NSC), (b) the specified learners wrote the SA Sign Language (SASL) examination and (c) the specified learners obtained (i) an NSC pass and (ii) a Bachelor pass in SASL; (2) what number of learners from schools for the deaf and hearing impaired in each province were exposed to bridging courses in Grades 9, 10 and 11 to prepare for the unique grammar and structure of the SASL examination; (3) (a) what number of appointed markers had the pre-requisite qualifications to mark the final SASL examination papers in each province, (b) what are the details of the pre-requisite qualifications and (c) what number of years’ experience is required; (4) on what date will all schools in each province providing SASL as a home language be provided with sufficient textbooks; (5) what number of students who completed their NSC in SASL were approached by her department to assist educators with SASL?


1. (a) (i) and (ii) The current examination system only has a record of Hearing Impaired Learners and does not distinguish between Deaf learners and Hearing Impaired Learners The total number of hearing impaired learners that enrolled for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination is 456.

(b) Of the 54 candidates that enrolled to write the 2018 NSC South African Sign Language Home Language (SASL HL) examination, 52 candidates wrote the examination.

(c) (i) 26 candidates achieved an NSC pass

(ii) 7 candidates achieved admission to Bachelor studies

Note that of the 52 candidates that wrote the SASL HL examination, only 28 candidates could be resulted in terms of the full qualification, given that the remaining 24 candidates did not write the full NSC subject package in 2018.

2. All the full time candidates who wrote SASL HL in the NSC 2018 examinations were exposed to the bridging Grade 9 and 10 programme. No bridging programme was developed for Grade 11.

The table below provides the school, province and number of learners who wrote the SASL examinations in 2018:



Number of learners – Gr 12




St Thomas


10 (full time) + 6 (part time)
















St Martin






Dominican (Wittebome)





10 schools


3. (a) (b) (c)

In terms of the policy relating to the appointment of markers, the marker must have at least a recognised three year post matric qualification which must include the subject concerned at second or third year level. In addition the marker must have extensive experience as an educator in the particular subject or a related area and at least two years teaching or other curriculum-related experience within the last 5 years at the appropriate level, and must be competent in the language of teaching and learning.

In terms of marker appointments for SASL HL, it was not expected that the DBE will be able to appoint markers that satisfy all of the above criteria given that this is the first year of implementation of this examination. All 15 markers have extensive experience as teachers of deaf learners and have a Teaching Qualification. Four (4) of the markers have a qualification in SASL – ranging from a short course qualification to an Honours Degree in SASL. Two Deaf Teaching Assistants were also appointed to assist the hearing markers with the translation of SASL. The Teaching Assistants were not involved directly in marking. The teaching assistants have a Matric qualification.

Given the limitations relating to the appointed markers, the marking of the 2018 NSC SASL HL examinations was centralised at the DBE to ensure stringent standardisation and quality assurance of the marking process.

(4) The Department of Basic Education (DBE) is responsible for the development of the South African Sign Language National Catalogue which is forwarded to provinces, districts and schools. The provinces and schools are responsible for procurement and delivery of these textbooks as required. The Catalogues referred to were developed in 2015 and 2017.

(5). The Department of Basic Education has not been approached by students as the function of teacher development resides with provinces.

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