Class of 2021 went through two years of disruption due to COVID-19

The Class of 2021 was the first Grade 12 cohort to experience the harsh realities of the pandemic for two consecutive years, Umalusi said on Tuesday.

Addressing a media briefing, Umalusi CEO, Dr Mafu Rakometsi, said that consequently this class needed more academic support compared to their predecessors.

The matric Class of 2021 was the eighth Grade 12 cohort to write final examinations under the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS).

Rakometsi said that the most important beneficiary of Umalusi’s quality assurance work are the learners - who are eager to know whether Umalusi has done its job to ensure the credibility of their hard earned qualifications.

“The Class of 2021 was subjected to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic for two consecutive years, which included a hybrid mode of teaching and learning such as online and rotational classes,” Rakometsi said.

He said that despite the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continued to be a significant factor during the 2021 academic year, Umalusi is entrusted with a critical task of assuring the quality of the entire value chain of the national examination process.

“Regardless of the challenges presented by COVID-19, Umalusi’s quality assurance process focused on the following aspects of its mandate: the external moderation of question papers for all subjects/learning areas/instructional offerings across all qualifications and assessment bodies, verification of a sample of site-based assessment (SBA) marks, monitoring of the assessment bodies’ state of readiness to conduct and manage the 2021 national examinations, monitoring the conduct of examinations, monitoring and verification of marking as well as the standardisation and approval of results,” he said.

The CEO said that Umalusi has taken note of the evidence-based reports on interventions and improvement strategies implemented by all assessment bodies, including the Department of Basic Education and the positive impact of these on the overall assessment system as well as on teaching and learning.

In terms of the quality of question papers, Rakometsi said that this is an essential aspect of the integrity and credibility of the examination.

“Therefore, it is pleasing to see a marked improvement in the overall quality of question papers submitted by assessment bodies as more papers are approved after the first or second submission to external moderators,” he said.

Touching on irregularities, Rakometsi cautioned learners against joining study WhatsApp groups where papers are shared.

“If a paper is shared, all group members will be implicated, including those who did not intend to cheat,” he said.

Umalusi further commended all assessment bodies for doing their best to comply with COVID-19 regulations in the administration, conduct and management of the 2021 NSC examinations.

Source: South African Government News Agency