South Africa: Interventions Bear Fruit As Limpopo and Northern Cape Score Big in National Senior Certificate 2012

press release

Limpopo turned out to be the biggest winner in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations as they produced more than half of the country's top achievers. The province's matric Class of 2012 have since come under the spotlight following their performance that emerged in the results released recently.

Fifteen of the country's 27 top achievers came from Limpopo. The province achieved 66.9% in 2012, up from 63.9% of 2011, an improvement of 3.0%. Limpopo had received negative attention during 2012 due to the challenges relating to the delivery of textbooks. The delays in the arrival of textbooks in some schools did not affect Grade 12, but many people did not expect an improvement or a performance of this level from the province.

Northern Cape, which also experienced challenges following the disruptions in learning and teaching, achieved 74.6%, up from 68.8% in 2011, representing the largest improvement by a province, of 5.9%.

Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, officially announced the 2012 NSC results on 2 January, which were broadcast live from the SABC in Johannesburg.

Motshekga said all nine provinces had managed to achieve 60% and above, which translated to a national pass rate of 73.9% up from 70.2% in 2011. This is an increase of 13.3% since 2009 (60%).

The top achievers walked away with various items that included Samsung tablets, iPads, certificates, bursaries and many more gifts from sponsors such as Vodacom, SABC, SA Express, the National Education and Economic Trust, Mango airlines, the Telkom Foundation, Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre.

Motshekga said the improvement of the results were the outcome of the department's interventions, the involvement of parents as well as assistance from DBE partners who invested resources to support learning and teaching in schools.

"There is stability in the sector. In 2012, the teaching and learning environment was relatively stable. The exception was the Northern Cape where schooling was severely disrupted by service delivery protests in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District," she said.

"The provincial department was decisive in setting-up a study camp for learners. They wrote their exams in the camp. Learners who couldn't write would take supplementary exams next month," explained the Minister. Motshekga also indicated that although the Eastern Cape and Limpopo were under administration, the learners' performance was better than expected. "Both provinces received priority support from the national department," added Minister Motshekga.

"Between the national and provincial education departments, we have apologised profusely. What happened was that the delayed textbooks affected Grades 1-3 and 10 learners where the National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) were implemented for the first time.

"Contrary to concerns raised that there was no teaching in Limpopo for these grades, the new CAPS curriculum did not change everything in the syllabi. In some subjects there were no changes at all. Where there were, they did not exceed 5% and could be accommodated within the available time," Minister Motshekga said.

"More important, books from previous years could be used and were used. Now to say for seven months there was no teaching in Limpopo schools was an exaggeration to the extreme. Following the concerns raised in the media, I convened a number of meetings with principals and in all meetings it was confirmed that the delays in the delivery of textbooks did not result in seven months of no teaching," said Motshekga.

The Minister said the department was ready for 2013.

"Improving learner performance is the fundamental objective of the Action Plan and has been the glue tying together the interventions we have undertaken. In 2013, we will continue to focus on strategic priorities; encompassing CAPS, ANA, Workbooks and infrastructure," said the Minister.

Minister Motshekga also stated that the department would continue to focus on the 3Ts of Teaching, Text and Time on task. According to the Minister, these priorities necessitate improved and targeted curriculum management by principals and school management. The Minister encouraged the districts to intensify monitoring, management and support of intervention programmes at schools.

"We plan to improve learning outcomes by attracting young, talented and appropriately trained teachers and paying attention to improving and enhancing teaching skills and content knowledge of those already in the profession" she said.

Mamashela Kamogelo, a learner from Pax College in Limpopo, said that what made him a top achiever was the fact that he started studying at the beginning of the year.

"At times, one should compromise leisure time if he/she wants to become a top achiever. Learners must always believe in themselves and they need to work hard in order to be successful," said Kamogelo. Kamogelo is planning to enrol for Medicine at the University of Cape Town.

Meanwhile Motshekga said: "I assure all South Africans that the education and future of their children is in good hardworking and caring hands. We will do everything in our power not to fail them."

Issued by: Department of Basic Education

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