The Department of Education has given its assurance that all 2008 National Senior Certificate (NSC) candidates will have their results before schools reopen in mid-January.
The results for the 2008 examinations were released on December 30 2008, but 56 810 candidates were not issued their results on time.
Education Department spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele told the Teacher on Tuesday that a task team would be reviewing the examinations — the first in which pupils wrote a national grade 12 exam based on the outcomes-based education (OBE) curriculum.
The OBE curriculum was introduced in 1997 in an attempt to make education more relevant by allowing learners to gain the required skills of a particular subject through practical application.
“It appears that the delay was caused by the failure of some schools to submit the continuous assessment grades for some subjects on time,” Ngqengelele told the Teacher.
As part of the OBE curriculum, pupils are evaluated throughout the year and this mark is then combined with their final NSC examination results.
“We are working around the clock to rectify the situation, and at last count there were only 12 000 learners still awaiting their full results.”
The department dismissed speculation in the media that attributed the delay to widespread irregularities during the examination process.
There were suggestions in the Cape Argus that more than 700 cases of alleged cheating were being looked into.
There are also concerns that the late results could effect the pass rate of 62,5%, compared with 65% achieved in 2007.
“Of course there is the possibility that the pass rate will be affected by the outstanding results, but what you must remember is that this exam was a first,” Ngqengelele explained.
“This is the first year learners are writing a truly national examination and it is also the largest examination in terms of candidate numbers [with 589 912 candidates], so it would not really be appropriate to compare it to previous years.”
However, the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union said on Tuesday it was concerned with the issue of outstanding results, and blames the department’s chain of command.
“It’s irresponsible to blame individual schools for the delay in issuing results,” says union spokesperson John Lewis.
“We feel the problem lies with the chain of command within the department. If the departmental structures above school level, at provincial or district level, for example, are not always functioning at the optimum level, can we really expect schools to pick up the slack?”
Ngqengelele did confirm that the department is looking at ways of improving the reporting process for the 2009 exams and that the minister is considering releasing the results in January, in an attempt to ensure that all candidates get their marks at the same time.