Light moment...DA education spokesperson Edmund van Vuuren takes a breather in a sleeping unit supplied to exhausted markers at the Matric Marking Centre in Mthatha.
Light moment…DA education spokesperson Edmund van Vuuren takes a breather in a sleeping unit supplied to exhausted markers at the Matric Marking Centre in Mthatha.

The DA has embarked on the monitoring of matric marking at the fifteen marking centres in the province, as well as the correct capturing of marks.

We will be particularly attentive to specific risk areas which might discredit the whole process.

The DA visited four marking centres on Monday, 5 December, as part of oversight by the portfolio committee on education. These centres were St John’s College and Trinset College in Mthatha, Queenstown Girl’s High and Cradock High School.

The key risk areas that were scrutinised in-depth were scripts delivered to the centres, security of the scripts, and the integrity of the marking and whether back-up systems are in place, should any unforeseen eventuality occur.

In the Eastern Cape, 3 232 workers were appointed to mark some 1,5 million scripts, written by 84 427 learners, of which 68 080 are full time. A total of 1 343 examination assistants were also appointed in assessing markers with the adding of marks of all script.

The department should be commended for the dedicated staff appointed to manage these marking centres. All centre managers have the necessary expertise and knowledge in examination assessment issues.

All scripts were duly delivered to the centres visited and in cases where one or two scripts were missing, they were retrieved from the corresponding district office without delay.

Scripts are sorted in a secured room with a control officer managing the process and with two security officers on duty at all times. There is only one access point to the central room. All scripts are signed out by examiners and signed in by the control officer.

All markers were trained in the marking process. A teacher not teaching the subject will be exposed through this training session.

The integrity of the marking process cannot be questioned as all processes observed are credible. All marking takes place within groups, within marking venues and no scripts are allowed to be taken out of the marking venues. At the end of the working day which ends at 8 pm but sometimes as late as 10 pm, all markers leaving the centre are thoroughly searched.

Daily marking quotas are achieved, which will result in marking being completed as per the proposed date of 15 December.

The Department will have to invest in backup plans, should the marking centres encounter any power outages.

The DA wishes to applaud the Department of Education for efficiently and effectively managing the whole examination process and hope it will relate in a higher pass percentage.

– Edmund van Vuuren

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