More than 40,000 markers are set to handle the marking of the 2021 matric exams, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has confirmed.
The department appeared before portfolio committee on basic education on Tuesday after Parliament reconvened from constituency period following the conclusion of the 2021 local government elections.
During the briefing, DBE chief director of national assessments, Rufus Poliah, told the committee that the department had appointed a total of 41,596 markers across all provinces.
“We have also brought in other mechanisms where markers, before they start marking, must show that they can comply with what we refer to as the tolerance range.
“We allow for a minor tolerance variation and if they are unable to comply with the tolerance range, we don’t grant them authorisation, which means that they are not able to mark,” he said.
Poliah said a total of 194 marking centres would be available across all provinces in order to accommodate the markers.
“The DBE will also run a marking centre. The one marking centre managed by the DBE will take care of subjects where provincial departments may not have expertise because of the very small numbers,” he continued to say.
This year’s number of marking centres has increased by 20, compared to 2020.
Covid-19 protocols will be implemented at the marking centres. These include screening at the entrance to every marking centre, and placing those exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms in an isolation room.
Markers have been encouraged to vaccinate against Covid-19.
Many markers withdraw from marking this year as some tested positive for Covid-19 either on arrival, or shortly after commencement of the process.
Some even succumbed to Covid-19 as centres were faced with a difficult task, having to work under strict conditions to ensure there was no spreading of the virus.
To address the potential shortage of markers, Poliah informed the committee that the department would take action by extending marking days, conducting a second round of nominations to increase markers and reserves, as well considering staggered marking for subjects with multiple papers and utilise the same markers.
“I must say that the shortages are not alarming. There are shortages that we can accommodate,” he added.
Basic Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to announced the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam results on 20 January 2022, while provinces will then release the results the next day on 21 January.
The markers are expected to finish marking by 22 December this year. The marking is set to be captured on 27 December.
Meanwhile, Umalusi standardisation is expected to take place by 6 January.
The education quality assurance council needs to declare that the exams and the marking processes are up to standard in order for the NSC exam results to be released.
This year’s matric exams started on 27 October and will conclude on 7 December.
A total of 897,786 candidates are expected to sit for the exams at more than 7,000 examination centres across the country.