ATC170314: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the Official Release of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) Results for 2016, dated 14 March 2017
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the Official Release of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) Results for 2016, dated 14 March 2017.
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having attended the official release of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results for 2016, reports as follows:
- A delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education attended the official release of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results for 2016 on Wednesday, 4 January 2017 at VodaWorld, Midrand.
- The delegation comprised the following members of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education: Hon N Gina MP (ANC) (Chairperson), Hon J Basson MP (ANC), Hon H D Khosa MP (ANC), Hon T Z Khoza MP (ANC), Hon D Mnguni MP (ANC), Hon G Davis MP (DA), Hon D Van Der Walt MP (DA), Hon N Mashabela, MP (EFF), Hon C T Msimang MP (IFP) and Hon L Ntshayisa MP (AIC).
- Members of staff who formed part of the delegation included Mr D Bandi (Content Advisor), Mr L Brown (Committee Secretary), Mr K Madimetja (Researcher) and Mr D Arendse (Committee Assistant).
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 2016, 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 2016 at VodaWorld, Midrand on 5 January 2017.
3. Presentation of the 2016 National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examination Results Technical Briefing – Dr R Poliah, Chief Director: Department of Basic Education
Dr Poliah, in his opening remarks, spoke of the principles that determined education performance (Access, Redress, Equity, Efficiency and Quality) as well as the skills that needed to be reflected by the 21st Century. He also referred to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically the SDG4 of “Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Dr Poliah touched on the National Development Plan and the Action Plan 2019: Towards the realization of schooling 2030.
He noted that the National Senior Certificate examination results was one of the most important barometers to evaluate the success of the sector. Progress in the sector had also been confirmed in the recent cycles of international and regional assessment programmes.
Dr Poliah went on to give a detailed overview of the Class of 2016 and covered the following areas:
- The profile of the Class of 2016;
- The scope and size of the 2016 NSC Examination;
- The number of candidates enrolled;
- Full time candidates entered versus those who wrote;
- NSC progressed learners per province;
- Historical trends;
- Overall performance;
- NSC passes by qualification type;
- Bachelor pass trends (and bachelor passes per province);
- NSC passes by type of Qualification per Quintile;
- NSC bachelor passes per quintile;
- Performance based on gender;
- School performance within different percentage categories;
- School performance by Quintile;
- Subject performance;
- District performance;
- The performance of part-time candidates;
- Special Needs Education; and,
- A summary of achievements.
In his concluding remarks, Dr Poliah referred to the significant gains of the Department in respect of the National Senior Certificate examinations. These included the following:
- An increase in the number of candidates who wrote Mathematics;
- An increase in the percentage of candidates who passed Mathematics;
- An increase in the percentage of candidates who passed Physical Science;
- A total of 2 853 schools attained a pass percentage of 80 percent and above;
- A total of 1 452 schools from quintile 1 – 3 attained a pass percentage of 80 percent and above;
- A total of 78 878 learners from quintile 1 – 3 schools qualified for admission to Bachelor studies;
- Of the 82 districts, 32 achieved a pass rate of 80 percent and above; and
- The number of districts attaining a pass rate of below 50 percent decreased from eight to five.
4. Address by Hon A Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education
In her opening remarks, Minister Motshekga indicated that, in respect of the strategic direction in the basic education sector, there was a global education agenda, the UNESCO Education Agenda 2030, which was part of the seventeen UNESCO sustainable development goals. The UNESCO Sustainable Development Goal 4, the Continental Education Strategy for Africa on the African Agenda 2063, the National Development Plan Vision 2030, and our Action Plan 2019: Towards Schooling 2030 provided a clear direction in improving access, redress, equity, efficiency and quality of learning outcomes through the implementation of the Medium-Term Strategic Framework and the National Strategy for Leaner Attainment.
The National Senior Certificate examination results were one of the most important barometers to evaluate progress made by Government in the aforementioned. Progress in the sector had also been confirmed by the recent cycles of regional and international assessment studies.
Minister Motshekga also indicated that research showed that the major root causes of dropping out of school towards the end of secondary school, was weak learning foundations. Therefore, the most important priority had to be to improve the quality of learning and teaching in the early Grades, so as to ensure that learners were equipped with the skills needed to cope with the curriculum requirements of the higher Grades. The Minister also referred to the international assessment benchmark tests and their findings.
The main purpose of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations was to provide learners with an exit qualification. The Department was also able to glean on the progress as a country to provide an inclusive, quality and efficient basic education. These results did exactly that. The Department was increasingly prioritising interventions and policies that target an improved quality of learning and teaching, and implementing accountability systems to ensure that quality outcomes were achieved. More specifically, the Department was deliberately prioritising early grade literacy.
The Minister went on to present a detailed overview and profile of the Class of 2016. She highlighted the following figures:
- The total number of candidates registered – 828 020;
- Full time candidates – 674 652 (610 178 wrote); and
- Part time candidates – 153 368 (107 793 wrote).
The release of the 2016 NSC examination results was approved, however, the results of the learners who had been implicated in the leaked Mathematics Question Paper 2, would remain blocked pending the finalisation of the investigations.
Hon Motshekga further touched on the performance of the progressed learners and mentioned that the Department had learned a lot from this exercise, and working with provinces, would continue to strengthen and provide support for progressed learners. In respect of learners with special needs, the Minister believed that an Inclusive Education system made an immense contribution towards an inclusive economy to serve an inclusive society.
The Minster also referred to the benefits of the “pro-poor” policies of Government on the Grade 12 examination results, with progresses learners included.
In respect of District Performance, the Minister indicated that 67 of the 81 districts attained a pass rate of 60 percent and above and 31 districts achieved a pass rate of 80 percent and above. A total of four districts attained pass percentages of between 87 and 88 percent. Regrettably, there were five districts which performed below 50 percent, and all of these districts were in the Eastern Cape. The Minister gave a detailed overview of the performance of each of the provinces as follows:
- Eastern Cape attained 63.3 percent, an increase of 1.1 percent from 62.2 percent in 2015;
- Limpopo attained 68.2 percent, a decline of 3.5 percent from 71.7 percent in 2015;
- KwaZulu-Natal attained 69.5 percent, an increase of 7.9 percent from 61.6 percent in 2015;
- Mpumalanga attained 81.3 percent, a decline of 0.8 percent from 82.1 percent in 2015;
- Northern Cape attained 82.2 percent, a decline of 1.8 percent from 84 percent in 2015;
- North West attained 86.2 percent, an increase of 9 percent from 77.2 percent in 2015;
- Gauteng attained 87 percent an increase of 1.1 percent from 85.9 percent in 2015;
- Western Cape attained 87.7 percent, a decline of 0.3 percent from 88 percent in 2015; and
- Free State attained 93.2 percent, an increase of 5.5 percent from 87.7 percent in 2015. Free State is the only province that broke the 90 percent threshold.
The Minister, in conclusion, pronounced the results of the Class of 2016 by indicating that the 2016 NSC overall pass rate, with the progressed learners excluded, stood at 76.2 percent. However, with the progressed learners included, the 2016 NSC overall pass rate stood at 72.5 percent. The Minister conceded that despite the notable improvements in the system, much more needed to be done in the area of efficiency and quality. On behalf of the Class of 2016, the Minister wished to extend a special gratitude to all teachers, parents, the NGO sector, education researchers, corporate South Africa, and the rest of the population for their continued support in their endeavors to bring about quality basic education.
The official announcement by Minister Motshekga was followed by the presentation of learner awards and media interviews.
Report to be noted.
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