Learners encouraged to work hard as they return to school

With learners returning to school today, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has encouraged pupils to focus on their education rather than delay their future by engaging in destructive activities. 'Growing up is not easy, it has a lot of temptations but it is important to know what to do at the right time. Your time for studying is now. Grade 12, this year is your year,' Motshekga said on Wednesday. Addressing pupils at Kgatoentle Secondary School in Ga-Rankuwa in Pretoria, the Minister's remarks focused on teenage pregnancy, bullying and substance abuse. 'Government invests a lot of resources in your education because of how important you are. You are our future. This country is going to be run by you, this economy is going to be run by you. 'We are working hard with Umalusi and the Department of Higher Education and Training to diversify the skills in the country. We encourage you to learn technical and vocational skills so you can contribute towards the economy,' Motshekga said. The purpose of t he visit was for Motshekga and Gauteng MEC for Education Matome Chiloane to oversee the reopening of schools. While Grade 12 pupils start their last year in school, government is preparing to release the results of the 2023 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. More than 890 000 full-time and part-time candidates sat for the matric exams administered by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) at the end of 2023. Earlier this week, national education quality assurance body, Umalusi, announced that it had approved the release of the November 2023 NSC examination results. 'Having studied all the evidence presented, the EXCO of the Council concluded that the examinations were administered largely in accordance with the regulations pertaining to the conduct, administration and management of the [NSC] examinations. 'The EXCO of the Council therefore approves the release of the DBE November 2023 [NSC] examination results,' Umalusi council chairperson Professor Yunus Ballim said. He added that irregula rities that were identified during the writing and marking stages of the examinations 'were not systemic and therefore did not compromise the overall credibility and integrity' of the NSC exams administered by the DBE. 'In respect of identified irregularities, the DBE is required to block the results of all candidates implicated in irregularities, including the candidates who are implicated in alleged acts of dishonesty pending the outcome of the DBE investigations and verification by Umalusi. 'Umalusi is concerned about the recurring instances of printing and packaging errors in question papers and the ongoing practice of group copying. 'The DBE is required to address the directors for compliance and improvement highlighted in the quality assurance of assessment report and to submit an improvement plan by the 15th of March 2024,' Ballim said. The ministerial announcement on the exam results is expected to be made by Motshekga on Thursday, 18 January, with the general result release set for the next day ( Friday). Source: South African Government News Agency