Class of 2014: Give it your best

22 October 2014

The government and entire country stand behind behind this year's matric candidates

Minister Faith MuthambiNext Monday the entire country will hold its collective breath as the Class of 2014 starts writing the 2014 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination. This is an exciting period as the exams are a culmination of twelve years of hard work. It also serves as a crucial platform for these young people to launch their desired future.

Government joins the nation in wishing well all learners who will be sitting for their final year exams, especially the 550 127 full time and 138 533 part-time matric candidates  during this month-long examination period. We applaud them for their determination and hard work over many years. 

These examinations are crucial and enable government to assess the degree of impact of our interventions over the past twelve years.. In the past few years, our hard work was reflected  through the matric pass rate which increased by a massive 17.6 percentage points from 60.6 per cent in 2009 to 78.2 per cent in 2013.

This year’s final examination carries an additional significance, since the Class of 2014 is the first cohort of Grade 12 learners that will sit for the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) aligned National Senior Certificate examinations. CAPS were introduced to make the curriculum more accessible to teachers by providing them with clearer specifications of what should be taught on a term-by-term basis.

With a few days left before the exams start, we are satisfied that all measures are in place to ensure an incident-free 2014 NSC examinations.  We have strengthened the monitoring of the examination processes at all the 6 735 examination centres to ensure that the integrity and credibility of the process is beyond reproach. In addition, an estimated 65 000 invigilators will be monitoring the examinations to prevent any irregularities.

Preparations are in place to collect answer scripts across the country on examination days. These will be placed into secure storage before being moved into 117 centres across the country for marking by a selected team of 41 509 markers, who will commence this mammoth task on 1 December 2014.

It is anticipated that Basic Education Minister, Ms Angie Motshekga will announce the outcome of the 2014 NSC examinations on 5 January 2015. The matric results will then be released to the candidates on the following day.

While everything on government’s side is in place for the examination, we greatly depend on parents and guardians to motivate and assist the Class of 2014 to perform to the best of its ability.

Government therefore urges parents and guardians to support all learners by creating the right environment for study at home.  We appeal to families to monitor both the physical and mental well-being of learners over this trying period which  ends only after the release of the results. These young people are the pride of the nation. Let us nurture them and give them every opportunity to succeed.

We would also like to reiterate that if some candidates are unsuccessful during the 2014 final examinations, that they will have another opportunity to succeed during supplementary examinations in February or March 2015. These candidates will be joined by 469 Grade 12 learners from Kuruman in the Northern Cape who were unable to adequately prepare for their NSC examinations due to local service delivery protests. 

President Jacob Zuma has  in the past  strongly encouraged unsuccessful Grade 12 learners  not to lose hope and dare not give up on their dreams. “All is not lost. It is not the end of the world. The youth must know that they can still improve their results and go on to achieve the careers of their dreams,” he guided.

Parents and guardians should never under-estimate the impact of their involvement and active encouragement in their children’s schooling. Minister Motshekga recently emphasised this when she launched the 2015 School Governing Body (SGB) Election campaign which will be held next year from 6 to 28 March.

Minister Motshekga indicated that, there is a direct link between the good performance of  schools and  well-functioning School Governing Bodies where parents are actively involved and take an active interest in the affairs of the school. She also pointed out that poor parent participation in schools affects the oversight role they are supposed to play which in turn affects the accountability of the school authority.

Government encourages all parents and guardians to play their part in the SGB elections by making themselves available as candidates or by voting. The governing body elections are a significant event in the country taking place in over 24 000 polling stations at all public schools with over 250 000 members elected to serve.

We strongly believe that our basic education system  provides matriculants with a solid foundation to follow whatever career they choose. The training and acquired knowledge of these young people will ultimately benefit our economy and move South Africa forward.

Government calls on families to support our learners. Get involved so that we can transform our schools into centres of excellence. To the Class of 2014, we are proud of you and the entire country is behind you, give it your best shot!

Faith Muthambi is Minister of Communications