The quality assurance examination board, Umalusi, says plans are in place and the system is ready to administer the November 2021 final National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations.
Umalusi said strict measures are in place ahead of the examinations, which will commence officially on Wednesday, 27 October 2021 and conclude on Tuesday, 7 December 2021.
The examinations will be written at approximately 11 308 examination centres across the country and marking will be conducted at about 193 marking centres.
Addressing a media briefing on Friday, Umalusi CEO Mafu Rakometsi said the council has granted approval to private and public assessment bodies to administer the 2021 end-of-year national examinations.
"Umalusi conducts quality assurance of assessment to ensure that assessment leading to the award of certificates in schools, adult education centres and technical and vocational education and training colleges is of the required standard. This is in order to ensure that the certificates issued by Umalusi are credible.
"The quality assurance process includes the following, extra moderation of question papers, moderation of school based assessment, monitoring of the state of readiness... education of marking and standardisation of examination results," Rakometsi said.
The CEO said that despite identified shortcomings, the Council is generally satisfied that all assessment bodies are ready to undertake this massive task despite COVID-19.
He said in the past few months, public and independent assessment bodies have worked hard to ensure their examination systems comply with Umalusi's policy and directives regarding the administration, management and conduct of NSC examinations.
"As a Quality Council, Umalusi has fulfilled its role in monitoring and verifying the work of the following assessment bodies - Department of Basic Education (DBE), Independent Examinations Board (IEB), and the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI)," he said.
This year, Umalusi said it has continued to implement a Risk Management Based (RMB) approach as its strategy to evaluate the level of preparedness of assessment bodies to conduct the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations.
The CEO said the rationale behind the use of the strategy was to enable Umalusi to identify risks that may compromise the delivery of credible examinations on time and advise the affected assessment bodies accordingly.
Umalusi has appreciated the effort made by all assessment bodies in putting systems in place to ensure that the integrity of national examinations is not compromised despite limitations imposed by COVID-19.
Umalusi has issued a stern warning to all stakeholders regarding incidents of cheating that were reported last year.
"Once again, as we have done in the past, and in light of what transpired in 2020, Umalusi wishes to issue a stern warning to all learners and teachers to refrain from all forms of cheating, including paper leakages.
"We berate and condemn this criminal practice with the contempt it deserves. Cheating compromises the integrity of our national examination system, which we are mandated to jealously protect as a Quality Council," the CEO said.