“We are ready” - Angie Motshekga on the State of Readiness for the 2019 NSC Examinations

We are very pleased to update the nation on the state of our readiness to administer the 2019 final National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examinations.

In one phrase, ‘It’s all systems go.’ We have performed a dry run of all key elements of the examinations system. Our Examinations Computer system is live, tested and, all system administrators have been trained and deployed. All data sets have received a nod from the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, UMALUSI.

All necessary policy changes were completed long before today. The Security Cluster is providing all the necessary support and ready for any eventuality.

The only threat that remains with us is the insidious phenomena of the service delivery protests that often turn violent and, prevent learners from accessing examinations venues. In this regard contingency plans are in place.

We also faced teething problems when the examination started last week. Learners who were affected by power outages will sit for the examination using our back up question papers.

Be rest assured that the DBE always allows for such incidents, most of which are beyond our control. We are in constant communication with the management of ESKOM and they have thus far confirmed that power disruptions will not happen, or will be at a bare minimum to ensure that our examination runs smoothly.

As Basic Education Minister, I extend my warm wishes to all matriculants. To the nation, I say, we are ready for combat in the service of our country.

The NSC Examinations are the largest and very complex system that is delivered by government year-on-year without any budget overruns, security glitches, and cheating. What is most heartening about our agile examination process that we have designed is that it’s insulated from corruption and malfeasance.

In fact in the last five years, we had one localised incidents of cheating that we nipped in the bud. Interestingly, it was our own markers who raised the alarm.

Today, I pay tribute to thousands of our teachers who are part of this remarkable NSC examinations ecosystem. Over the years, all our teachers and officials have always covered themselves in glory.

As you can appreciate, the NSC Examinations are high stakes national assessments. According to pundits the matric certificate, our only exit qualification from the basic education system, after 12 years of teaching and learning has intrinsic value for both individuals and society. For instance research indicates that the labour market values the matric certificate, and this positive attitude has remained the same in the post-apartheid era.

Researchers say that the premium to matriculation in terms of earnings and the probability of finding a job has also remained positive. Clearly there are economic returns to passing matric, particularly because doing so provides access to further education and training which drastically improves one’s labour market prospects. Researchers insist the worsening labour market outcomes of matriculants should not be confused with a negative valuation of the matriculation certificate relative to fewer years of education.

On our side, the NSC exams prepares learners for the world beyond secondary schooling. All our system are designed so that every learner is provided with the best possible opportunity to achieve a National Senior Certificate.

Let me remind you that the Grade 12 certificate (Matric) is the only reliable indicator presently recognised in law of the performance of the schooling system. Employers and universities do not accept school reports since these are not nationally standardised and, are thus unreliable indicators of achievement. As we speak it is only the Grade 12 Certificate that serves the following:

  • Entry to the institutions of Higher Education
  • Prepares the learner for the world of work
  • Develops the learner for citizenry

To ensure that we maintain our high rankings in terms of credibility of these examinations, we have recalibrated our security systems to maintain our high levels of examination integrity. We are certain that our security measures of our examination system is comparable to the best in the world. All question papers are benchmarked with the Cambridge International Examinations and University South Africa. Improved marking quality strategies are in place.

We have done all this so as to maintain the high premium of the Grade 12 Certificate that is in fact internationally recognised.

A total of 790 405 candidates will commence their final NSC Exams from 15th of October to 28 November across 7416 examination centres nationwide. A further 212 learners entered will write from correctional facilities. A total of 147 examination question papers for the 2019 national senior certificate examinations have been set and externally moderated by Umalusi.

Provinces have ensured that all the schools for the Deaf procured and received all the necessary equipment for the South African Sign Language (SASL) HL. A total of 15 schools for the Deaf offer Grade 12 in 2019 are registered.

To the Class of 2019, all the best. We count on you to maintain our above 70 percent pass rate.


Media Enquiries:

Hope Mokgatlhe – Ministerial Spokesperson (079 817 0427)

Terence Khala – Media Liaison Officer (081 758 1546)




Social Media