Media Release
Minister of Education Donald Grant
Western Cape

18 September, 2012

Crunch-time for the Class of 2012 as the WCED wraps up NSC preparation.

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

With just 33 days to go, the Western Cape Education Department is prepared and ready for the 2012 National Senior Certificate examinations.

The WCED has finalised candidate lists with 45 590 full-time candidates registered for these examinations. This is 4 389 more candidates than last year's number. There are a further 9 391 part-time candidates registered for the 2012 exam.

The examinations will be written between the 22nd of October and the 28th of November 2012 at 421 exam centres across the province.

106 examination papers are to be written and over 800 000 examination scripts distributed. 1 200 invigilators have been appointed to monitor and assist in the examination process.

The marking of the examinations will take place from the 5th of December 2012 to the 12th of December. The WCED has appointed 3 095 markers to mark the examination scripts.

In order to enhance the credibility of the National Senior Certificate Examinations and to give all candidates and their teachers their best opportunity in these examinations the WCED expanded its competency testing process for markers this year to include 3 more subjects were tested than last year.

We want to ensure there is the highest possible standard of marking in these examinations and that all our markers are both competent and experienced in their subject fields.

This year competency tests were written in the following subjects: Accounting, Business Studies, Geography, History, Life Science, Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Consumer Studies, Economics and Maths Literacy.

To ensure that the mark calculations of markers are correct, the WCED has appointed 490 mark checkers.

While we are always cautious in making predictions, we are confident that we will increase the number of passes this year. The number of passes is an important indicator when assessing the NSC results. This Government is committed to improving the number of learners who write and pass the NSC examinations.

We are also determined to decrease further the number of underperforming schools that achieved pass rates of less than 60% in the 2011 matric exams.

Our Grade 12 intervention programme proved successful last year in improving the performance levels of our underperforming schools.

The province managed to reduce the number of underperforming high schools from 78 in 2010 to 30 in 2011.

At the start of the 2012 school year, the WCED approached each of the underperforming schools and conducted an analysis of their exam results. The department looked carefully at the results of every subject and the results within subjects. They looked at every learner, class, teacher and school to identify what must be done to improve these results further.

The WCED then worked with each school to develop and implement strategies to support our learners and teachers to improve their results. These strategies differed from school to school based on their needs and subject requirements.

Key elements of the Grade 12 improvement programme include the following:

  • Tutoring of learners over week-ends and holidays by experienced teachers with a record of high learner achievement.
  • A Telematics project which broadcasts lessons via satellite in selected subjects to 144 schools after school and over weekends.
  • Ensuring that all Grade 12 learners have textbooks in at least 6 core subjects.
  • Personal mentoring by teachers of learners at risk.
  • Providing learners with safe homework and study spaces.
  • Providing Grade 12 learners with a study guideline called "Tips for Success" that provides advice on how and what to study for each subject, the structure of exam papers and how to manage their study time.
  • Providing learners with previous examination papers, which can also be obtained on the WCED's website. The papers help learners to know what to expect in the NSC while also practising how to complete papers on time. In August, 64 000 copies of sample exam papers and model answers will be distributed through a leading Sunday newspaper.
  • Regular school visits by officials for curriculum support and monitoring.
  • Meetings with learners and parents.
  • Motivational talks by our Circuit Team Managers.
  • Follow up sessions with learners with irregular school attendance.

Today, I visited one of our underperforming schools in Khayelitsha, Sizimisele Secondary School, to wish their Grade 12 learners good luck for the upcoming examinations.

Sizimisele Secondary School achieved a pass rate of 56% in 2011. This year they hope to achieve a percentage pass rate of 69%. Intervention programmes at this school this year included telematics programmes, tutoring programmes and after-school and weekend tuition.

I then visited Matthew Goniwe High School, which is one of the top performing schools in Khayelitsha. The school used to be classified as underperforming, achieving a 48.7% pass rate in 2008, and a 45.5% pass rate in 2009.

However, through teamwork, dedication and a strong management team, the school surpassed all expectations in 2010, achieving 86.9% pass rate and in 2011 a 90% pass rate. This year their target is 95%.

This school is a wonderful example of how a school can turn its circumstance around and I wish them the best of luck in achieving, and hopefully even exceeding, their target this year.

We encourage all our candidates for the 2012 NSC examinations to stay focused and to put in the hard work required to prepare for the upcoming examinations.

Learners should examine their September results carefully to determine where they are falling behind so that they can improve on these areas. Make use of the past examination scripts on offer on the WCED website(, and distributed to your schools.

Through the combined efforts of all learners, teachers and parents, as well as support from the Department, I am confident that together we can improve learner performance in the NSC examinations.

For enquiries, contact Bronagh Casey:  021 467 2377 or

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2012 Western Cape Education Department