Joburg – The Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, Umalusi, has expressed its concerns about the recent protest actions in some parts of the country which have resulted in some candidates either missing their National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams or writing later than originally scheduled.
Protests were about poor service delivery from municipalities, water and power cuts.
In the North-West arrangements have had to be made for approximately 460 candidates to be compensated for the time lost, while just over 50 candidates in Gauteng could not write the exam due to community protests.
In Mpumalanga, approximately 1 130 candidates were prevented from accessing their examination centres where they were scheduled to write either maths or maths literacy Paper 2 exams
Umalusi commended the Department of Basic Education (DBE) for making arrangements for the candidates who missed their exams to be afforded an opportunity to write as it was not their fault to miss them.
It discouraged the communities from using national exams as leverage for their protest actions. “While Umalusi respects the constitutional right of every citizen to protest, candidates should also be allowed to exercise their right to education by writing the exams without any form of hindrance,” it added.
Furthermore, Umalusi said it was worried about the alleged problematic questions in the maths question Paper 2 administered by the DBE.
“In this regard, the standard procedure for dealing with such issues is the marking guidelines or memoranda standardisation meetings during which problematic questions are moderated in consideration of candidates’ answers.
“Depending on the magnitude of the problem, the marks allocated to the question/s may be excluded from the question paper’s total marks or that alternative responses may be accepted,” it stated.
The Council for Quality Assurance in General and FET highlighted that moderators attended the meetings and took responsibility for signing off the final marking guidelines after considering the responses of candidates and the deliberations.
“The fine-grained details of how the concerns were dealt with would be submitted for the consideration of Umalusi at the end of the marking process,” it said.
Another matter that was raised by the organisation involved the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute’s (Sacai) premature release of two question papers on November 11 to Umalusi.
It said the two were the physical sciences Paper 2 and the life sciences Paper 1 which were scheduled to be written on November 14 and 18.
According to Umalusi, it is a requirement for assessment bodies to submit question papers to Umalusi after the writing of each paper so that Umalusi can perform its post-exam quality assurance processes before the standardisation of results.
“Instead of releasing Paper 1 of physical sciences, which was written on November 11, the Sacai erroneously released Paper 2 which is scheduled to be written on November 14.
“Since the erroneous release of question papers has the potential to put the credibility of the examination at risk, Sacai has withdrawn the papers released in error and will substitute them with back-up question papers,” it said.
Umalusi urged all the assessment bodies and stakeholders to do everything possible to ensure that the integrity of the 2022 national exams is not compromised.