Media Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Education
The annual NSC awards ceremony held at Leeuwenhof every year gives this government and the Western Cape Education Department the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of learners and schools that have excelled academically in the National Senior Certificate Examinations.
Winners of these awards are identified through a set list of criteria compiled by the WCED.
In the last two years, the department has expanded the criteria for the NSC awards, releasing additional categories that would incentivise our schools and learners to produce even better results.
The department has also ensured that the criteria used are in line with the overall strategic objectives and vision of this province and the priorities that have been set, namely, improving the number of learners that write and pass their NSC, the quality of passes achieved, such as the number of candidates who qualify for degree and diploma study, as well as consistency in performance by schools.
Improvements in the number of Mathematics passes is a major focus area, as it is key to the development and progress of the Western Cape. It also forms the basis of many further education and training fields in science, technology, engineering and business - all key sectors for a growing economy.
Therefore, Mathematics passes will continue to be a key indicator when determining the awards for top schools. In the award category, "Excellence in Academic Performance", awards will be made to the top 20 schools in the province that have achieved excellence in academic results in 2012, based on the consistency of the school in the number of Grade 12 candidates over a period of three years, the percentage of candidates with access to Bachelor's degree study and the ratio of Mathematics passes.
In the "Most Improved School" category, awards will be made to schools that have shown the greatest improvement in the numbers of candidates who passed over the period 2010 to 2012, as well as awards to schools that have shown the greatest increase in the number of candidates achieving access to Bachelor's degree studies over the period 2010 to 2012.
Awards will also be given to schools for individual subjects. These subjects are Mathematics, Physical Science, Accounting, English Home Language, Afrikaans Home Language and isiXhosa Home Language. The school that shows the greatest improvement in performance, in terms of increases in the number of passes in these subjects in 2012, compared to its performance in 2011, will be presented with an award. An award for each subject will also be given to the school that produced the highest number of passes.
For individual learners, the WCED will be presenting a Merit List of candidates for the 2012 NSC. This list will include 20 learners who have achieved the top academic positions in the province, as well as 20 learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds with excellent meritorious achievement.
An individual award will also be given to the top candidate for excellence despite barriers to learning.
Various learner subject awards will be presented to individual candidates who have achieved the best results in subjects such as isiXhosa Home Language, English Home Language, Afrikaans Home Language, Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Accounting.
In the 2011 NSC awards, the department introduced for the first time a special ministerial award for individuals who have achieved excellent academic results in the face of tremendous hardship, ill health and personal obstacles. The WCED will again be considering candidates for this award for 2012.
There are only 83 days to go before the start of the 2012 National Senior Certificate examinations.
We appeal to all our Grade 12 learners to use the remaining time as an opportunity to plan their study timetables for the rest of the school year, if they have not already done so by now.
This week, Avusa Education, in partnership with the WCED, will be distributing a Matric Countdown Supplement to all high schools in the province. The supplement provides answers to frequently asked questions, study tips, advice on writing exams, guidance on tertiary studies, a study plan template, the exam timetable (subject to change), and messages from the Minister and Head of Education.
The supplement includes examples of matric papers for seven subjects and memoranda on how they will be marked. The subjects are Physical Science, Mathematics, Information Technology, Maths Literacy, English, Accounting and Life Sciences.
We advise candidates to work through the papers and marking memos, and to follow further advice given in the "Tips for Success" books that we have provided to every matriculant in the province. Matriculants can also find "Tips for Success" on our matric support website at http://wced.school.za/home/home.html.
The website also includes a link to matric support materials and information, including information on support programmes, links to past exam papers and how to order recorded lessons on DVD from the WCED Telematics programme.
We encourage all our candidates for the 2012 NSC examinations to stay focused.
We are extremely proud of the effort and commitment they have already shown this year, especially at some of our underperforming schools, where attendance levels at our Winter School Programme was extremely high.
We look forward to celebrating their achievements at our awards ceremony next year.