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It's all systems go for 2019 matric final exams, says Education Dept

The Department of Basic Education on Thursday said it was confident everything was in place for successful matric exams and the department was cautiously optimistic this would translate into an improved pass rate.

Classroom. Picture: Pixabay.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Basic Education on Thursday said it was confident everything was in place for successful matric exams and the department was cautiously optimistic this would translate into an improved pass rate.

More than 600,000 full-time candidates are registered for the final exams, which get underway in earnest next week and wrap up in November. Officials from the department briefed Parliament’s Basic Education oversight committee.

It’s the final school hurdle for hundreds and thousands of learners. For the national and provincial departments of Basic Education, it’s the culmination of months of planning for the printing and secure storage of exam papers and the appointment of monitors and markers.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to announce the overall outcome of the matric exams on the evening of 7 January and pupils will be able to get their results from their schools the following day.

The Department of Basic Education’s Paddy Padayachee said: “The only red [flag] we have is under-staff capacity, but… heads of departments will ensure all examinations, especially the Grade 12 one, get all the resources they do need, even if they have insufficient budget.”

Security of question papers and service delivery protests also posed a risk.

“We’ve indicated as red [flags], community protests because they’re not really something we can predict.,” Padayachee said.

Quality assurance body Umalusi said it was all systems go. Umalusi also outlined its state of readiness for the 2019 exams.

It said while there were still some problems in certain provinces but heads of departments had been alerted to address the issues urgently.

“I can report to the South African public that by and large, our system is ready to administer the 2019 finals examinations. But Umalusi will be monitoring the conduct of the examinations to ensure full compliance," said Umalasi chief executive officer Mafu Rakometsi.

The sittings were expected to run from 23 October to 28 November 2019.

Additional reporting by Thando Kubheka.