Matric Exams: The Time for the Class of 2012 to Shine has Finally Come
Media Statement by Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Today, 22 October 2012, marks the beginning of the 2012 National Senior Certificate Examinations, and I would sincerely like to wish each candidate the best of luck. 45 590 full-time candidates have registered for these examinations in the Western Cape. This is 4 389 more candidates than last year. There are a further 9 391 part-time candidates registered in the Province for the 2012 exam.
The examinations will be written between 22 October and 28 November 2012, at 421 exam centres across the province.
The majority of the candidates for this year’s exam will begin writing today.
In the morning, 18 161 full and part-time candidates are registered to write the English Home Language paper, 30 310 are registered to write English First Additional Language and six candidates for English Second Additional Language.
1009 full and part-time candidates are registered to take the Dramatic Arts examination in the afternoon.
While we are always cautious in making predictions, we are confident that we will increase the number of passes this year. This Government is committed to improving the number of learners who write and pass the NSC examinations, and this year we hope to achieve a stretch target of between 38 000 and 39 000 passes.
While the quantity of passes is key, we are also hoping to improve the quality of passes achieved by candidates this year.
In many ways this is significant, as universities in South Africa and abroad look at the quality of the pass and set requirements for bachelor degree study and diploma study accordingly.
In 2011, we significantly increased the number of candidates who achieved access to Bachelor Degree study. 801 more learners qualified for Bachelor Degree study in 2011 than in 2010. This number has steadily increased over the last three years with the total number eligible increasing from 14 324 in 2009 to 14 414 in 2010 and 15 215 in 2011 (i.e. a percentage increase of 6.5% from 2010 to 2011).
In 2012, we hope to see this number increase once again.
We are also determined to decrease further the number of underperforming schools that achieved pass rates of less than 60% in the 2011 matric exams.
Our Grade 12 intervention programme proved successful last year, in improving the performance levels of our underperforming schools.
The province managed to reduce the number of underperforming high schools from 78 in 2010 to 30 in 2011.
This year we have worked with all our underperforming schools to develop and implement strategies, to support our learners and teachers to improve their results. These strategies differed from school to school based on their needs and subject requirements.
Key elements of the Grade 12 improvement programme in 2012 included the following:
• Tutoring of learners over week-ends and holidays by experienced teachers with a record of high learner achievement.
• A Telematics project which broadcasts lessons via satellite in selected subjects to 144 schools after school and over weekends.
• Ensuring that all Grade 12 learners have textbooks in at least 6 core subjects.
• Personal mentoring by teachers of learners at risk.
• Providing learners with safe homework and study spaces.
• Providing Grade 12 learners with a study guideline called "Tips for Success" that provides advice on how and what to study for each subject, the structure of exam papers and how to manage their study time.
• Providing learners with previous examination papers, which can also be obtained on the WCED’s website. The papers help learners to know what to expect in the NSC while also practising how to complete papers on time. In August, 64 000 copies of sample exam papers and model answers will be distributed through a leading Sunday newspaper.
• Regular school visits by officials for curriculum support and monitoring.
• Meetings with learners and parents.
• Motivational talks by our Circuit Team Managers.
• Follow up sessions with learners with irregular school attendance. We are hopeful that we will see further decreases in the number of underperforming schools this year.
We encourage all our candidates for the 2012 NSC examinations to stay focused during the exam period.
Learners should make use of the past examination scripts on offer on the WCED website, and distributed to your schools.
Examinations are always a stressful and emotional time and we encourage candidates who are feeling anxious and stressed, to phone the WCED's Safe Schools Call Centre for support. The toll-free number is 0800 45 46 47. Our school psychologists and social workers in every district and circuit are on standby to provide counselling support, as required. Principals and their staff will also be on the lookout for anyone needing special support.
Finally, I would like to caution our candidates to behave in a responsible manner during this period. Many of the candidates will be celebrating the end of their school career and individual exams.
We appeal that they celebrate responsibly, and also, to exercise extreme caution while driving.
I look forward to a successful and smooth examination period and I am excited to see what the Class of 2012 will achieve when results are released in January 2013.