Media Release
Minister of Education Donald Grant
Western Cape

19 April, 2011

Minister Grant announces new NSC award criteria

Statement by Minister Donald Grant, Minister of Education, Western Cape

There are only 180 days to go before the start of the 2011 National Senior Certificate examinations.

While the WCED planned well in advance to minimize the disruption of teaching time in the second term, we do realize that the upcoming holidays could be a distraction from learners’ academic programmes.

Therefore we appeal to every learner to use this time optimally for learning.

Learners from all grades should continue to read, write and calculate every day. The WCED has updated lists of suggested reading for holiday and leisure-time reading on its web site for all grades.

These holidays also present an opportunity for our Grade 12s to plan their study timetable for the year ahead, if they have not already done so. Grade 12 learners are encouraged to consult their tips for success booklets on information on how to prepare study timetables, and they can visit our website which now includes a link to matric support materials and information, including information on support programmes, links to old exam papers and how to order recorded lessons on DVD from the WCED Telematics programme. All Grade 12 learners should prepare for the end of year by working though at least five past exam papers during the holiday period.

We encourage all our candidates for the 2011 NSC examinations to stay focused and look forward to celebrating their achievements at our awards ceremony next year.

The annual NSC awards ceremony held at Leeuwenhof gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of learners and schools that have excelled academically in the National Senior Certificate Examinations, many of whom do so in difficult conditions.

Award winners are indentified through a set list of criteria compiled by the WCED.

Last year, we expanded the criteria for the 2010 awards, releasing additional categories that would incentivize our schools and learners to produce even better results.

We believe it is important to ensure that that the criteria used are in line with our overall strategic objectives. We have now a list of criteria which corresponds with our vision for this province and the priorities we have set.

The first of these criteria is increasing the retention rate in the system.

This indicator is significant as we are determined to ensure as many learners as possible have the opportunity to pass the NSC, and in so doing, substantially improve their life chances.

Therefore, increases in the number of learners passing is now one of these criteria.

The quality of the outcomes achieved in the examinations is another important criteria. It is important that we do not only consider the number passing the NSC, but also the quality of passes achieved, such as the number of candidates who qualify for degree and diploma study. Therefore, the ratio of candidates with access to bachelor degrees will also be considered.

Another key indicator is consistency in performance by schools, therefore, one of the the criteria will be a schools’ performance over a three year period. Finally, because good results in mathematics opens up study and work opportunities for individuals and are important for the economic growth of the Western Cape and South Africa as whole, in awarding our top achieving schools, mathematics passes will now also be considered.

All these criteria will now feature in 2011.

In awards to schools, awards will be made to the top 20, instead of 10, schools (including independent schools) that have achieved excellence in academic results in 2011 based on criteria listed above - the school’s consistency over a 3 year period, their overall increase in pass numbers and the percentage of candidates with mathematics and access to bachelor degree passes.

In the award category for most improved schools, awards will be made to schools that have shown the greatest improvement, over a 3 year period, in the numbers that pass and those that have achieved increases in learner numbers with access to bachelor degree studies.

Similar to the 2010 criteria, schools that produced the highest number of passes in individual subjects will also be rewarded. However, this year, in line with our focus on proficiency in literacy and numeracy we have added languages to the criteria for the first time. Awards will now be made to schools who have achieved excellence and improvements in English Home Language, Afrikaans Home Language and isiXhosa Home Language.

In awards to individual learners, this year, a list of 40 top candidates in the province will be announced.

These top 40 candidates will include 20 candidates that achieved the best results in the province in six NSC subjects (including two languages, mathematics and three other subjects excluding life orientation), and 20 top candidates from previously disadvantaged backgrounds with learner achievement of more then 80% in at least four subjects.

We look forward to next year’s celebration in honour of all our top schools and candidates in the 2011 NSC.

For enquiries, contact Bronagh Casey:  072 724 1422 or

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