Priscilla Ogunbanjo, the department’s director responsible for examinations, said the department was working tirelessly to ensure it presides over incident-free, quality exams this year.
She said this on Tuesday when she briefed the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the department’s state of readiness ahead of this year’s matric exams.
“The Department of Basic Education is hard at work to ensure that the 2016 National Senior Certificate examination is of the appropriate standard, error free and irregularity free.
“Registration of centres and candidates has been completed and final verification of candidate registration is currently in progress,” she said.
The examinations will commence on 25 October and conclude on November 29. The Minister of Basic Education will announce the outcome of the 2016 Grade 12 exams on January 4, 2017. Candidates will collect their statements of results on January 5 at the place where they wrote their examination.
Ogunbanjo said registration of centres and candidates has been completed and that the final verification of candidate registration is currently underway.
There are 677 141 registered full time and 150 183 part-time candidates in 2016 examinations, 9000 more than 2015.
KwaZulu-Natal topped the list on the number of enrolments with 169 769, followed by Gauteng with 112 069 learners.
In Limpopo, 102 618 Grade 12 learners will sit for this year’s exams, while 89 740 will put pen to paper inside examination halls in the Eastern Cape.
Ogunbanjo said the education sector had recorded tremendous improvements in access, redress and equity. She said learning outcomes have shown an upward trend in the national, regional and international tests.
The department did not only focus on system readiness but that it was implementing programmes to ensure that learners received support.
The department had put in place measures to complement normal teaching and learning programmes to bring about improvements in performance since 2014.
This includes language support, subject specific content support, tracking learner performance, and support for progressed learners.
To avert the leakage of 2016 question papers, Ogunbanjo said all storage points across the country will be audited to ensure they comply with the minimum security standards.
She also said storage points that do not comply will not be allowed to store question papers.
The briefing to the portfolio committee comes a day after Minister Angie Motshekga visited Vuwani to check the progress made by the collaborative efforts of the department‚ labour‚ civil society and the provincial education department to restore schooling in the Limpopo town as well as to assess the readiness.
Some 20 schools were set alight in the area over violent protests in May.
The Minister reportedly said she was confident that based on the work that had been done in the area so far, learners would be ready to sit for their grade 12 exams.