The Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, Umalusi, has given assessment bodies the greenlight to administer the 2019 matric exams.
The 2019 matric exams will begin on 23 October and wrap up on 28 November.
Briefing the media recently, the Council said it conducted a thorough assessment of the readiness of the basic education system to manage and conduct the 2019 national examinations.
“To this end, the Council is generally satisfied that all assessment bodies are ready to undertake this massive task,” said CEO Mafu Rakometsi.
As a Quality Council, Umalusi monitors and verifies the work of public assessment bodies such as the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education and Training – and private assessment bodies such as the Independent Examinations Board, the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute and Benchmark Assessment Agency.
In terms of the National Senior Certificate, there are 751 668 candidates - this is a decrease of more than 40 000 candidates compared to 2018.
Approximately 629 197 full-time learners and 122 471 part-time candidates will sit the 2019 exams.
These exams are taking place at more than 6 900 centres across the provinces.
Shortages of markers
Umalusi highlighted with great concern evidence of a shortage of markers in key subjects, with high enrolments at the time of the audit.
These were found in the Northern Cape (agricultural sciences afrikaans markers), Western Cape (history paper 2), and Eastern Cape (English first additional language, physical sciences, life sciences and Afrikaans markers).
While contingency plans have been put in place to address these shortages in the interim period, Umalusi called on all affected provincial departments to urgently address them.
Furthermore, the quality assurance body noted high levels of vacancies in critical areas within examinations directorates in Limpopo, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and the Eastern Cape.
“Nevertheless, provincial education departments have put measures in place, such as allowing available staff to work overtime to mitigate the shortage of staff,” said Rakometsi.