Mr Basil Manuel, President of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), commenting on the results of the 2014 National Senior Certificate (NSC) commended the Department of Basic Education (DBE) for accomplishing a “successful” first CAPS-NSC examination. NAPTOSA welcomes the timeous release of the results. The decrease in the overall pass rate from 78.2% to 75.8% in 2014, whilst disconcerting, does demonstrate the integrity of the system in responding to the changing demands of the CAPS curriculum, said Mr Basil Manuel, President of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa.
The real focus should be on the quality of passes. NAPTOSA is therefore especially concerned by the sharp decline in the overall quality of passes, particularly the decline in Bachelors passes to 28.3 % in 2014 from 30.6%. This suggests a decrease in the number of learners who qualify for entry into Higher Education Institutions, said Mr Manuel.
NAPTOSA, however, acknowledges that in its pursuit for greater quality the DBE has changed the content of certain subjects, especially Mathematics, the cognitive pitch of others, like Mathematical Literacy and others which also impacted on the overall results, said Mr Manuel
That only approximately 42,5 % (532 553) of the cohort of the 1.252 071 million learners who enrolled in Grade 1 in 2003 sat for the 2014 NSC examination is distressing, said Mr Manuel. “In 2013 there were 797 304 Grade11 learners. Where have the 264 751(33.2%) learners gone? NAPTOSA acknowledges the various reasons provided for the 50% plus dropout of learners from Grade 1 to Grade 12, but does not accept it. We are doing the children of South Africa a great injustice, said Mr Manuel.
NAPTOSA acknowledges the progress the DBE has made in respect of learners with special education needs, however, the DBE should embark on a campaign to encourage greater differentiation which will cater for Inclusive education learners and learners in Special Needs Schools, said Mr Manuel.
Mr Manuel said that NAPTOSA is troubled by the Umalusi report on the number of irregularities present in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Eastern Cape schools, especially that of “cheating schools”. Whilst not condoning the actions of individuals involved, NAPTOSA is of the view that “undue pressure for schools to perform”, “promises of labs/ computers etc” from MECs w.r.t 100% pass rate has added to the kind of fraudulent activities reported. NAPTOSA wants to see the “full might of the law” brought to bear on the individuals who compromised the future of children’s education and brought the 2014 NSC examination into disrepute. Mr Manuel stated that while the issue of irregularities is disturbing, it is imperative that NAPTOSA commends both markers for their vigilance and Umalusi for upholding its integrity by being transparent on the issue.
NAPTOSA is of the view that an impact analysis needs to be done in order to establish whether the DBE interventions across the grades are indeed making a difference in learner performance. Examination Directorates in the national and provincial departments (as well as the Umalusi officials) need to be commended for their management of the National Senior Certificate examination. Provincial Departments, in particular, need to be congratulated on an examination that was generally incident free, said Mr Manuel. Noting that the NSC is in its sixth year, he said, the management of the examination process is indicative of a maturing system.
Most importantly NAPTOSA wishes to commend the dedicated teachers (from Grade R to Grade 12) who have made an enormous contribution to the successes that we are celebrating today. The 2014 NSC diagnostic analysis should inform how and where teachers need to be further empowered through effective professional development strategies designed to meet their individual needs.
NAPTOSA congratulates all of the successful candidates of the Class of 2014! You have done your parents, teachers and your schools proud, said Mr Manuel.
Finally, although the focus is on those candidates who have been successful in the 2014 examination NAPTOSA wishes to encourage those candidates who were unsuccessful. Mr Manuel said that NAPTOSA urges those candidates to either return to school to complete their education or explore other options of further study that are available.