ATC130319: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the Official Release of the National Senior Certificate Results for 2012, dated 12 March 2013

Basic Education

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the Official Release of the National Senior Certificate Results for 2012, dated 12 March 2013

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the Official Release of the National Senior Certificate Results for 2012, dated 12 March 2013.

The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having attended the official release of the National Senior Certificate results for 2012, reports as follows:

1. Introduction

1.1 A delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education attended the official release of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results for 2012 on Wednesday, 2 January 2013 at the SABC M1 Studios in Auckland Park , Johannesburg .

1.2 The delegation comprised the following members of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education: Hon H Malgas MP (ANC) (Chairperson), Hon N Gina MP (ANC) (Whip), Hon Z S Makhubele MP (ANC), Hon A C Mashishi MP (ANC), Hon A T Lovemore MP (DA) and Hon A M Mpontshane MP (IFP).

1.3 Members of staff who formed part of the delegation included Mr D Bandi (Content Advisor), Mr L Brown (Committee Secretary) and Ms R Azzakani (Parliamentary Communications Unit).

2. Background

The national examination system in South Africa is managed by the Department of Basic Education supported by the nine Provincial Education Departments (PEDs). National examinations are conducted in accordance with the Regulations Pertaining to the Conduct, Management and Administration of the National Senior Certificate . The Department monitors the implementation of these regulations, while the heads of examinations in the provinces are responsible for their implementation.

With the completion of the marking of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examinations in December 2012, the Minister of Basic Education officially announced the final results which were broadcast live nationally. The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education was invited to attend the official announcement of the results of the NSC Examinations for 2012 at the SABC M1 Studios, Auckland Park , Johannesburg on 2 January 2013.

3. Presentation of the 2012 National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examination Results Technical Briefing – Mr B Soobrayan, Director-General: Department of Basic Education

Mr Soobrayan indicated that t he NSC results over the last five years pointed to the attainment of stability in the system with tangible and gradually improving results. In terms of Action Plan 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025, the key thrust was to improve the quality of basic education. The three key target areas were:

- To increase the number of Grade 12 learners who become eligible for a Bachelors Programme at a university

- To increase the number of Grade 12 learners who pass Mathematics

- To increase the number of Grade 12 learners who pass Physical Science

Mr Soobrayan gave a broad overview of the intervention strategies employed by the Department to improve quality of schooling. These included:

- Teacher, Text and Time

- Diagnostic Reports on Learner Performance

- Improving Learner and Teacher Access to Materials (Textbooks and Study Guides)

- The development of Practical Assessment Tasks (PATs)

- Teacher Development Programme Partnerships

- Syllabus Completion

Mr Soobrayan mentioned that progress in terms of the key educational outcomes showed that Grade R expansion was encouraging, more learners completed Grade 12 and more learners qualified for access to degree programmes. Mr Soobrayan, again, explained the criteria that were set for entry into Higher Certificate, Diploma and Degree Studies. He further elaborated on the difference between the pass requirements for the National Senior Certificate and that of the old Senior Certificate, indicating that the requirements were equivalent, if not higher than the old Senior Certificate.

In respect of the standardisation of results, Mr Soobrayan stressed that Umalusi, the Quality Assurance Council, had conducted an internationally acceptable process to ensure that the results were valid and credible. Out of 58 subjects presented for standardization, raw marks of 41 were used, 12 subjects were adjusted downwards and five were adjusted upwards.

Mr Soobrayan went further to present charts with detailed information on the following:

· Examination Administration and the Examination Cycle

· The overall performance of candidates in the 2012 NSC Examination

· A comparison of the NSC passes from 2009 to 2012 by province

· School performance per Quintile

· NSC passes by type of qualification

· A comparison of Bachelor’s passes by province from 2009 to 2012

· A comparison of the number of NSC passes by province and gender

· Pass rates within different percentage categories

· Subject analysis – NSC candidates performance per subject

· NSC District Performance

In conclusion, Mr Soobrayan indicated that there were significant gains made in the system over the last five years of the NSC and there were areas that warranted much attention and effort in the next few years. The Department of Basic Education was convinced that the schooling sector, despite its serious challenges, was beginning to move forward on the trajectory of improved school performance.

4. Address by Hon A Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education

After the official opening, welcome and introductory remarks by the Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Hon E Surty, the Hon A Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education addressed the gathering. This address was a live television broadcast nationally.

4.1 Achievements in education

Hon Motshekga indicated that the Department was encouraged by notable improvements in the education of children and society. The sustained improvements on matric results were attributed to systemic interventions for strengthening and raising performance in all levels of the system. She mentioned that the revised Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) was being implemented, per phase, in the General Education and Training and Further Education and Training bands as follows:

- Grades R, 1-3 and 10 (done) in 2012

- Grades 4-6 and 11 in 2013

- Grades 7-9 and 12 in 2014

The Minister noted that teachers were empowered with clear, concise and unambiguous curriculum and assessment statements. This helped in improving learners’ ability to count, read and write. Many educators and parents supported changes in the curriculum.

She also mentioned that the Department’s National Strategy for improving Literacy and Numeracy had assisted in improving education quality and strengthened the teachers’ capacity to teach. Further, the Department had coordinated teacher development with provincial departments in targeted areas. The Department had provided workbooks, nationally, to all learners in Grades 1 to 9.

The 2012 Annual National Assessment was a massive undertaking, written by over seven million learners. Learner performance in the Foundation Phase (Grades 1, 2 and 3) was encouraging and there was progress in the Intermediate Phase (Grade 4, 5 and 6). For the first time, in 2012, the Department assessed Grade 9s to enable the Department to have a benchmark through which they could report progress or lack thereof in this phase.

4.2 Schooling in 2012

Hon Motshekga indicated that there was stability in the sector. In 2012, the teaching and learning environment was relatively stable with the exception of the Northern Cape where schooling was severely disrupted by service delivery protests in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District. Here the provincial department was decisive in setting up a study camp for learners.

Since the Eastern Cape and Limpopo were under administration, they received priority support from the Department. The Department would continue to work with these provinces to ensure educational outcomes would continue to improve.

In respect of the textbook saga, Hon Motshekga admitted that this was an unfortunate matter that should not have happened. She explained that, contrary to concerns raised that there was no teaching in Limpopo for these grades; the new CAPS curriculum did not change everything in the syllabi. In some subjects there were no changes at all. Where there were, they did not exceed 5 per cent and could be accommodated within the available time. Teaching and learning in Grade 12 was not affected.

4.3 National Senior Certificate examinations

Hon Motshekga mentioned that the NSC examination results rank among the important performance indicators of the entire schooling system. Results over the past four years showed progress in education. She mentioned that it was encouraging to note that public examinations in South Africa had attained a high level of stability and, in many respects; their practices have been entrenched in all provinces.

In respect of promotion issues, Hon Motshekga indicated that the pass requirements for the NSC were not lower than those of the old Senior Certificate. She alluded to the differences between the old and the new systems. Hon Motshekga mentioned that she was setting-up a Ministerial committee to re-examine the matter and to give international comparisons. This would help to put the minds of parents and learners at rest and to restore confidence in South Africa ’s qualifications. The team would also deal with concerns raised regarding publishing learners’ results with names rather than using their student numbers.

4.4 Class of 2012

The number of fulltime candidates writing the NSC examinations had increased from 496 090 in 2011to 511 152 in 2012, an increase of 15 062 candidates. The number of part-time candidates who wrote in 2012 was 81 552 compared to 80 116 in 2011 (an increase of 1 436). In total, 262 question papers were set, 7.8 million question papers printed and written at 6611 examination centres, supervised by 65 000 invigilators. In total, 7.4 million scripts were marked by 39 039 markers at 118 centres.

To ensure that the papers were pitched at an international standard, the Department embarked on an international evaluation of question papers of 2002, 2007 and 2010. Question papers for selected subjects were evaluated by reputable international assessment bodies, namely, Cambridge International Examinations, the Scottish Qualification Authority and the Board of Studies of New South Wales. The 2011 benchmarking process also added an important dimension that included Higher Education South Africa .

4.5 Standardisation

On 21 December 2012, Umalusi convened the standardisation meeting at which performance in each subject was analysed statistically and qualitatively to ensure current performance was in keeping with performance in previous years. Umalusi was able to use raw scores for the majority of subjects. Out of the 58 subjects that were standardised, raw scores of 41 were accepted. Of those that were adjusted, 12 were taken down, and only five were taken up. On 28 December 2012, Umalusi announced that the 2012 NSC examinations were fair, valid and credible and that all processes met their standards.

4.6 2012 National Results

In announcing the 2012 National Results, Hon Motshekga was pleased to announce that the national pass rate for the class of 2012 was 73.9 percent. It presented an increase of 3.7 percent on the 2011 results (70.2 percent). Provincial pass rates were as follows (in ascending order):

1) Eastern Cape – 61.6 percent (58.1 percent in 2011)

2) Limpopo – 66.9 percent (63.9 percent in 2011)

3) Mpumalanga – 70 percent (64.8 percent in 2011)

4) KwaZulu-Natal – 73.1 percent (68.1 percent in 2011)

5) Northern Cape – 74.6 percent (68.8 percent in 2011)

6) Free State – 81.1 percent (75.5 percent in 2011)

7) North West – 79.5 percent (77.8 percent in 2011)

8) Gauteng – 83.9 percent (81.1 percent in 2011)

9) Western Cape – 82.8 percent (82.9 percent in 2011)

4.7 2013 priorities

Hon Motshekga mentioned that in 2013, the Department would continue to focus on strategic priorities, encompassing CAPS, ANA, Workbooks and Infrastructure. The Department would continue to focus on the 3Ts of Teachers, Text and Time on task. Districts needed to intensify monitoring, management and support of intervention programmes at schools. The Department planned to improve learning outcomes by, inter alia , attracting young, talented and appropriately trained teachers and paying attention to improving and enhancing teaching skills and content knowledge of those already in the profession.

The Department will prioritise school infrastructure and the eradication of mud schools. On 10 December 2012, the President’s Infrastructure Coordinating Committee launched the National School Build Programme and government has committed more funding for school infrastructure.

The Department established special teams to strengthen the monitoring and support work for provinces. These included a team to audit provincial reading programmes and investigate the strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of programmes. The Department established a maths and science task-team, not only to identify challenges in the teaching of maths and science but also to work with provincial departments dealing with them.

4.8 Message for the Class of 2012

Hon Motshekga’s message to the Class of 2012 was that the world was their oyster. She urged them to go out and realise their dreams as the country needed them. To those who did not perform as expected, she asked that they should not lose heart. There were many options for improving results or pursuing alternative career paths.

4.9 Message for the Class of 2013

To motivate the Class of 2013, Hon Motshekga shared a sad experience of a committed learner yearning to attain education by all means. In 2012, in spite of being gravely ill, the learner wrote and passed English Home Language (57 percent), Mathematics (62 percent), Life Sciences (62 percent), Physical Science (54 percent) and Afrikaans FAL. This translated to a National Senior Certificate Bachelor’s Pass. Unfortunately he was overcome by illness.

Hon Motshekga mentioned that the bar had been set. The Class of 2013 needed to aim high.

Hon Motshekga also acknowledged the sterling support and motivation of parents, guardians and teachers who actually carried the most responsibility in the education chain and all education officials. She expressed gratitude to members of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education for their ongoing guidance, teacher unions for their support and partnership, the business sector that continues to support the Department, both professionally and materially as well as educational non-governmental organisations.

T he official announcement by Minister Motshekga was followed by the presentation of learner awards and media interviews.

Report to be noted.


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