Four weeks to go – WCED prepared and ready for the 2011 NSC.

In just four weeks’ time, the first of the 2011 National Senior Certificate examinations begins. 

Over 41 000 full-time and 9 000 part-time candidates in the Western Cape will be writing the NSC this year. This year we are faced with a statistical anomaly as a result of the standardisation of age of admission in January 2000. The Grade 1 intake in the year 2000 dropped by approximately 20 000 learners. This smaller cohort progressed annually through the system and is now in Grade 12. 

As a result, this year’s NSC cohort is significantly smaller than last year. In 2010, over 47 000 learners enrolled for the NSC, compared to around 41 000 learners this year. 

The first examination, Computer Applications Technology, will take place on Monday, 17 October.  Around 8 800 learners are expected to sit for this examination. 

I am pleased with the progress we have made in preparing for these examinations. Officials in the WCED have worked hard to ensure that all the logistical requirements are being met. 

The examinations will be written at 417 centres around the province. 2 100 invigilators have been appointed and 3 200 markers will mark the 800 000 (approx.) examination scripts. 

The examinations will end on the 1st of December, with candidates expected to be available up to the 9th of December for any unexpected eventuality. 

The marking period will be from the 7th to the 14th of December, with results expected to be released on the 5th of January 2012. 

Last year, we saw a reversal in the six year decline in the matric pass rate in this province. More candidates than ever wrote the NSC exams, passed the exams and achieved access to higher education. Furthermore, we increased the pass rate in mathematics and science, increased the number of distinctions, increased the number of schools with a 90% and above pass rate and reduced the number of underperforming schools. 

While the Western Cape Class of 2011 has a lot to live up to, I am confident that they will do us proud! 

This year, we have once again put significant resources into assisting our Grade 12s, particularly at our underperforming schools. The main components of our Grade 12 plan included setting targets for improvement, providing learner and subject-specific support through the provision of textbooks and a “tips for success’ booklet which helps learners with preparation for the NSC. 

The WCED also arranged for support to various schools through the implementation of our tutoring programme and a telematics programme. Both these projects involved quality educators with excellent presentation skills and subject knowledge in the various subjects on offer. A number of additional support measures such as exemplar question papers, DVDs and workbooks have also been provided to schools. 

The Grade 12 intervention programme also targeted educators and school management teams, offering increased support in terms of management programmes, teacher development courses, the development of subject specific support plans and the provision of exemplar assessment tasks. 

My message to our Class of 2011 now is – use the remaining four weeks wisely. 

I encourage all learners to 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. 

As the old saying goes ‘Practice makes perfect!’ 

(Please email for any further information on any of the Grade 12 strategies that we have implemented this year.)

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