SA: All systems go for matric exams


With just 36 days to go before this year’s matrics begin their final exams, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says preparations are complete.

“We can confirm that preparations for the conduct of the examination in all nine provinces have been completed,” said the Minister on Sunday.

She was briefing the media after a meeting of the Council of Education Ministers’ meeting (CEM) in Pretoria.

A total of 688 660 candidates (550 127 full time and 138 533 part time) are registered to write the exams this year. They will write at 6 740 exam centres, overseen by approximately 65 000 invigilators.

Final preparations are being made for the seven million answer scripts to be collected on the day each exam is written. The scripts will be placed in secure storage and sent to the 117 marking centres across the country.

A total of 41 546 markers have been appointed, and they will start marking on 1 December.

Minister Motshekga assured that the department will strengthen its monitoring of the 2014 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam processes to ensure that “the integrity and credibility of this exit examination is upheld at every examination centre”.

The 2014 matric results will be announced on 5 January 2015, and the results will be released to candidates the following day.

Last year’s matrics recorded a 78.2% pass rate.

Improving the quality of marking

Minister Motshekga said her department plans to drastically improve the quality of marking over the next five years.

She said measures will include:

  • Implementing a competency test for markers;
  • Authorisation of chief markers and internal moderators;
  • Centralising the marking of small subjects, and
  • Introducing electronic marking.

The Minister said some short term measures to improve marking will be piloted during this year’s exams.

“These measures have been canvassed at the National Examinations and Assessment Committee (NEAC), which includes all Provincial Education Departments (PEDs), Higher Education South Africa (HESA), Umalusi, South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), labour unions and other private assessment bodies,” said Minister Motshekga.

She noted that the CEM meeting also discussed a presentation delivered by the NSC Ministerial Task Team. The task team – set up by Minister Motshekga – released a report last month, which looked into the promotion requirements for the NSC.

Among others, it recommended that:

  • All schools should be required to offer maths;
  • Requirements for the selection of exam markers should be raised;
  • Life Orientation (LO) should be removed from the promotion requirements of the NSC;
  • An exit certificate for Grade 9 should be introduced, and
  • The standard of African languages at home language level should be investigated.

The Minister said that while some of the recommendations could be immediately implemented, others required further deliberation.

“These will go back to provinces for further roundtable discussions…” she said.

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Marc Mcilhone
Marc Mcilhone is AfricanBrains' Editor - sourcing news and features content and overseeing the work of the site’s contributors. Marc’s work is informed by his technical background in architecture having worked for some of the UK’s leading practices on projects within the education, healthcare and housing sectors. Marc has a particular interest in how African innovators are creating sustainable solutions that have a positive impact on people’s everyday lives. Please email press releases and news to: