Tuesday, 11 January 2022 11:53

2021 matric results will not be published in the media to protect the privacy of pupils.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The Department of Basic Education has announced that matric exam results will no longer be published on media platforms, in line with the recently introduced Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).

In a statement, the department said that publishing personal information online would be a contravention of the Act. It confirmed that matric results are still scheduled to release on 21 January 2022 and that results would still be available from schools.

Historically, the matric results have been made widely available with students identified through their ID numbers.

'In order to comply with the provisions of the POPIA, the usual practice of publishing the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results on public platforms (media platforms) will not occur for 2021," it said.

"As was also the practice in previous years, all learners will be required to obtain their statement of results from the schools they attended. In this way, every learner’s personal information with regards to the outcome of their National Senior Certificate exam will be protected."

Meanwhile the Department of Basic Education Director-General, Mathanzima Mweli, said the important foundation that Grade 11 work builds in preparation for Grade 12 was weakened.

"We will therefore see the deleterious effect of lost teaching time, in particular on those subjects that are time intensive such as the languages, and subjects that are heavily dependent on language for utility, such as Mathematical Literacy,"he said.

The Director-General said the standardisation of the 2021 NSC examinations is a special meeting that deserves distinctive attention for a number of reasons.

"These learners not only had to deal with a reduced exposure to face-to-face teaching and learning but they also had to contend with the anxieties and trauma of COVID-19. Countless families have been pushed to the limits of financial endurance from lost jobs and income.

"Not only this but also many families have lost family members and friends due to the pandemic," Mweli said.

He said when looking at the principles of the science of how pupils learn, the cohort of 2021 was heavily impacted during their Grade 11 year due to reduced teaching time.

Mweli emphasised that learning is strengthened through the retrieval practice, which must be done multiple times and over time, including revisiting subject content across multiple sessions with good, specific and focused feedback from teachers and others, such as peers.

"The class of 2021 was deprived of this advantage. The unique learning context necessitated a robust, targeted and differentiated learner support programme for this cohort. The sector increased not only the learner beneficiaries and scope of the interventions but also the number and type of interventions offered to this class," he said.

Mweli said the class of 2021 is also the first class to be presented with amendments to Section 4 of the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), which impacted on 20 of the 67 subjects of this class.

Education experts have already warned that the difficult circumstances faced by matriculants are likely to result in a drop in marks. In 2020, the overall matric pass rate was 76.2%, substantially lower than the previous year’s 81.3%. It was also worse than 78.2% in 2018.

Basil Manuel, managing director of education union Naptosa, said that it was highly unlikely that 2021’s matric pass rate would be better than 2020, and that the best to hope for was a similar set of results.

He highlighted many of the same factors as Mweli which led to the 2021 cohort being put at a distinct disadvantage compared to previous years.

A total of 733,746 full-time students registered to write the 2021 NSC examination, the largest full-time cohort over the last few years. A total of 123,487 more full-time candidates and 46,942 part-time candidates registered to write the examination.

Of the candidates who registered for the examination, 700,604 wrote the examination, which reflects the lowest percentage of “no shows” (4.5%), over the last few years.

The national matric results for learners in public schools are expected to be announced on 20 January 2021 by Basic education minister Angie Motshekga, with individual results to be made available online at schools and electronically on 21 January 2021.