PARTY

Matric pass rate for 2013 is 78.2% - Angie Motshekga

Minister says FState best performing province with a pass rate of 87.4%, followed by NWest, Gauteng and then the WCape

Announcement of the 2013 NSC Grade 12 examinations results by Mrs Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education: 06 January 2014

Programme Directors
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee Chairperson and Members of the Select Committee on Education and Recreation Chairperson of the SABC Board, Ms. Zandile Tshabalala
Members of the Executive Councils
Directors-General and Heads of Education Departments
Representatives of Education Formations and Stakeholders
Top Performing Learners and their Parents and Grandparents
Honoured Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
Fellow South Africans

Good evening

It was almost four years ago that government took a very important decision to split the then Department of Education to establish the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education and Training.

This decision remains one of the key legacies of the current administration as it also affirmed education as priority number one of government.

With this commitment, our government under the President Jacob Zuma's leadership did all it could to support our Department.

I am pleased to announce that I'm extremely encouraged by the fact that our system shows definite signs of a stabilising education system and the time to reap the benefits of our hard work has arrived.

When I took over as the Minister of Basic Education, the system was fragile and we had a drop of 2 percentage points from 62.6% in 2008 to 60.6% in 2009.

It was a vulnerable position that the system found itself at the time.

Despite these challenges, we worked relentlessly, persistently and tirelessly and our efforts proved productive when we scored 67.8% in the 2010 NSC examinations.

This growth continued when the results of 2011 of 70.2% and 2012 of 73.9% confirmed that we were on an upward trajectory.

As President of the USA, Barack Obama once said that through our work we should make sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today, and this is what as this government we continue to be committed to.

Given the fact that learning outcomes, especially in the lower grades, have historically been low as indicated in international, regional and national tests, extraordinary measures have had to be employed to turn the situation around.

The focus for the Sector since 2009 has been on teachers, text and time as crucial levers for providing quality education.

The past four to five years have seen the introduction of the following strategic interventions in the sector: the administration of Annual National Assessments to over seven (7) million learners, the development and distribution of over 150 million workbooks over the past three years to Grade R - 9 learners, focus on literacy and numeracy, the establishment of the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit(NEEDU) and the development of the Planning, Delivery and Oversight Unit (PDOU) to identify areas of weaknesses, strengthening the National Curriculum Statement through the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), introduction of CAPS for Technical High Schools, and the development of South African Sign Language Curriculum to bring about clarity and inclusivity.

In addition, to these strategic interventions, the sector also implemented both system-wide and area-specific interventions, anchored on the National Strategy for Learner Attainment (NSLA) that targeted the improvement of learning outcomes.

The results of international studies including Trends in Mathematics and Science Studies (TIMSS) have corroborated our observations that sections of the education system are responding positively to the many interventions we have made.

In respect of South Africa, the TIMSS' results of 2011 showed that schools at the lower end of the performance spectrum, mainly schools in the less advantaged contexts, registered impressive improvements.

The 2011 TIMSS pointed to improvements in mathematics and science competencies of Grade 9 learners when compared to Grade 9 learners tested in 2002.

South Africa's improvement in mathematics of 67 TIMSS' points between 2002 and 2011, or 7 points per year on average, is among the steepest seen by any TIMSS participant.

Only Ghana has seen a steeper improvement over this period.

Our improvement is comparable to that experienced by Brazil in the last decade, probably the fastest and most consistent improvement in any international testing system in recent years.

We have already exceeded 50% literacy and numeracy rate which we expected to meet by 2015.

After the Draft South African Sign Language curriculum for grades R-12 was completed in December 2012 the DBE started a consultation process initially with a Reference Group of stakeholders from within the Deaf community which was followed by internal consultation with DBE structures including HEDCOM and CEM.

The consultation culminated in the gazetting of the curriculum for public comments which solicited positive comments across the public, intermittently praising the DBE for this ground-breaking development.

In terms of the procurement of textbooks and Stationery, we have developed the national Catalogue for all the phases from which learners and teachers are provided with quality textbooks and this contributed to increased textbook coverage.

The sector plan issued during October of each year has assisted with the alignment of provincial plans but much more important is to ensure that learners receive stationery and textbooks before schools reopen.

We will continue to monitor LTSM coverage and utilisation.

I can confirm that 99% of ordered textbooks, stationery and workbooks have been delivered.

The remaining 1%, is due to increased enrolments, and different languages or titles, and shortages will be remediated between now and the reopening of schools.

Since 2011, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has conducted Annual National Assessments to monitor the level and quality of learner performance in the key foundational skills of literacy and numeracy.

The rhythm of these assessments has stabilised remarkably in the last 3 years with participation increasing from around half a million learners in 2011 to about 7 million learners in 2013.

As an indicator of the health of the education system, ANA has yielded not only valuable information on the status quo, but ANA has also pointed to those areas calling for urgent attention to improve performance.

Class of 2013 The striking feature about the Class of 2013 is that they were born and brought up in a democratic South Africa, which has been fashioned by the values or the Freedom Charter, premised on a Rights culture making education a right and not a privilege and championed by the first President of the democratic South Africa, the late President Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest leaders in the history of South Africa and the world over.

The humanity and wisdom of Mandela can be summed up in the quotation, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world".

We would like to pay special tribute to a person who has lived the words of Tata Madiba - she has taken care of one of our top learners tonight, since he turned six years old.

Her dedication and support of this fine young man has enabled him to compete with all other young South African learners to emerge as one of our top students.

His grandmother, Mrs Rita Ngiba, says she hasn't stopped crying since she was told that Qhiniso Maxwell Ngiba was nominated as one of the top learners.

They have travelled from Ndwedwe in KwaZulu-Natal.

We welcome them to this event.

South Africans - please show your appreciation of the following outstanding results of young Qhiniso Ngiba, made possible by the sacrifices and strength of his granny.

He achieved a Bachelor's pass with the following subject results: Zulu - 90% English as a First Additional Language- 92% Mathematics - 92% Life Orientation -95% Physical Science -96% Life Sciences -97% Accounting -100% Moving on to the overall results for 2013: The number of fulltime candidates writing the NSC has increased from 511 152 in 2012 to 562 112 in 2013 - an increase of 50 960 candidates.

The number of part-time candidates who wrote in 2013 is 92 611 compared to 81552 in 2012 (an increase of 11 059).

In total, 258 question papers were set, 9.1 million question papers were printed and written at 6 676 examination centres, supervised by 65 000 invigilators.

In total, 8.7 million scripts were marked by 35 000 markers at 118 marking centres.

In order to achieve world class status, the DBE has made significant strides in the improvement of the quality of question papers by engaging in an international benchmarking process in 2002, 2007 and 2012.

Last year, question papers for seven selected subjects for the 2012 NSC examinations were forwarded to Cambridge International Examinations, Scottish Qualifications Authority and the Board of Studies New South Wales for evaluation.

According to the judgement made by these international bodies the standard of question papers has improved significantly and some of the aspects of these papers are comparable to the advanced levels of these international bodies.

I am proud as the Minister to have the standard of papers that are developed in South Africa subjected to international scrutiny.

This is evidence that we take pride in the quality of our question papers.

Standardisation

The Quality Assurance Council, UMALUSI, which plays a critical role in protecting the integrity of the National Senior Certificate examination, has after rigorous verification of all examination processes, declared the 2013 NSC examinations as free, fair and credible.

This achievement is attributed to the unwavering commitment demonstrated by examination officials at the DBE and across the provinces.

On 23 December 2013, UMALUSI convened the standardisation meeting at which performance in each subject was analysed statistically and qualitatively to ensure that current performance was in keeping with performance in previous years.

UMALUSI was able to use raw scores for the majority of subjects.

Out of the 59 subjects that were standardised, raw scores of 38 were accepted.

Of those that were adjusted, 16 were taken down including Mathematics, and only 5 were taken up.

2013 National Senior Certificate (NSC)

Results

This brings us to the 2013 results.

In the past four years, the pass rate has been as follows: In 2009 it was 60.6%, in 2010 it was 67.8%, in 2011 it was 70.2% and in 2012 it was 73.9%.

It is my privilege to announce that the national pass rate for the Class of 2013 is 78.2%.

This is an increase of 4.3 percentage points on the 2012 results (73.9%).

This is also an increase of 17.6 percentage points since 2009 (60.6%).

In 1995, when this cohort entered Grade 1, the national pass percentage was 53.4% and 19 years later, the national pass percentage is 78.2%. When we came into office, we had targeted 75% by 2014.

Now at 78.2%, we have surpassed our target with a year to go.

Rev Jesse Jackson correctly captured how we feel when he declared that "Both tears and sweat are salty, but they render a different result. Tears will get you sympathy; sweat will get you change."

In 2013, 439 779 learners out of 562 112 passed matric. This is an increase of a whopping 61 950 learners on the 2012 results (377 829).

Well done to the Class of 2013! I'm extremely pleased by the fact that all indicators of quality are also part of the upward trend.

For example with Bachelor passes, the percentage of Grade 12 learners who qualified for Bachelor's studies was 20.1% in 2008, 19.9% in 2009, 23.5% in 2010, 24.3% in 2011 and 26.6% in 2012.

It has now increased to 30.6%.

In 2013 we achieved 67 855 distinctions in twelve (12) main subjects compared to 55 650 distinctions in 2012.

Socio-economic factors worldwide are a key determinant of education performance of different learners, we are also encouraged to notice that as a sector we have started to break the backbone of under-performance in rural and township schools.

A total of 1 832 schools coming from quintiles 1, 2 and 3 have scored an overall pass percentage of 80% and above.

In terms of Bachelor passes, a total of 78 407 learners from Quintile 1, 2 and 3 schools obtained admission to Bachelor studies.

Therefore it is evident that schools coming from poor communities are demonstrating good performances which will be harnessed in the coming years.

The notion that the schools from the more elite communities are propping up the pass rate is therefore invalid.

In the area of what we termed gateway subjects like Maths and Physical science, the number of passes in Mathematics, that is, 142 666 in 2013, is 20 696 more than the 121 970 of 2012. The pass rate for Mathematics is 59.1% in 2013. This is an improvement from 54% of 2012.

The number of passes in Physical Science, that is, 124 206 in 2013, is 14 288 more than the 109 918 of 2012.

The pass rate for Physical Science in 2013 is 67.4%. (It was 61.3% in 2012.)

In respect of learner performance in other subjects: The number of passes in Life Sciences - 222 374 in 2013 - is more than the 193 593 in 2012.

The pass rate for Life Sciences in 2013 is 73.7%. (It was 69.5% in 2012.)

The pass rate for Accounting in 2013 is 65.7%. (It was 65.6% in 2012.)

The pass rate for Geography in 2013 is 80%. (It was 75.8% in 2012.)

The pass rate for Economics is 73.9%. (It was 72.8% in 2012.)

The pass rate for History in 2013 is 87.1%. (It was 86% in 2012.)

The number of passes in Mathematical Literacy is 282 270 for 2013 compared to 254 611 for 2012.

A detailed report on the performance in all subjects including the names of schools countrywide will be available tomorrow on our website.

In respect of learners qualifying for a Bachelor's programme, in our Action Plan we set a target of having 162 000 in 2013 and 175 000 (32%) in 2014. A figure of 171 755 was attained this year. It was 136 047 in 2012. This is an increase of 35 708 learners.

Hopefully my colleague, Minister Nzimande and his team at Higher Education have made preparations to enrol them at Higher Education Institutions and FET Colleges.

Provincial results

All Provincial Education Departments have worked tirelessly and persistently hard from the beginning of 2013.

Key interventions focused on improving performance in key gateway subjects and supporting underperforming schools and their principals.

These initiatives have paid dividends.

Provincial pass rates are as follows, in ascending order:

Eastern Cape achieved 64.9%, an increase of 3.5 percentage points from 61.4 in 2012

Limpopo achieved 71.8% in 2013, up from 66.9% of 2012, an improvement of 4.9%.

Limpopo needs to be congratulated for improving their pass rate of 48.9% in 2009 to 71.8% in 2013, an impressive increase of 22,9 percentage points.

The relatively good performance of Limpopo in the NSC is encouraging.

Compared to the relatively poor performance of Limpopo primary school learners, it is clear that Limpopo's secondary schools are doing an especially good job of producing quality NSC results compared to the performance in lower grades.

An analysis of 2011 NSC results that looked only at schools serving predominantly African learners showed that 184 of the country's top-performing 500 such schools were located in Limpopo.

Northern Cape achieved 74.5%, down from 74.6% in 2012, a small decline of 0.1 percentage points.

KwaZulu-Natal achieved 77.4%, an improvement from 73.1% in 2012, and an increase of 4.3 percentage points.

Mpumalanga achieved 77.6%, up from 70% in 2012 and representing the second highest improvement of 7.6 percentage points.

Mpumalanga also needs to be congratulated for improving their pass rate of 47.9% in 2009 to 77.6% in 2013, an increase of 29,7 percentage points.

This is indeed to be lauded.

Western Cape achieved 85.1%, up from 82.8% in 2012, an increase of 2.3 percentage points.

Gauteng has achieved 87%, up from 83.9% in 2012, an improvement of 3.1 percentage points.

North West has achieved 87.2%, up from 79.5%, and representing the highest improvement of 7.7 percentage points for the 2013 matric class.

The top performing province for 2013 is Free State which has achieved 87.4%, up from 81.1%, an improvement of 6.3 percentage points, followed by North West, Gauteng, the Western Cape, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Limpopo and then Eastern Cape.

Well done to MEC Tate Makgoe and his team from the Free State!

District performance

Coming to District performance, of the 81 districts, 74 performed at 60% and above passes compared to 71, of these 61 reached 70% and above, compared to 53 districts in 2012 and 37 districts had performed at 80% and above.

With underperforming districts in 2012, 7 districts were between 50% and 59% and all these were in the Eastern Cape.

Now in 2013 no district performed below 50% compared to 3 poorest performing districts in 2012.

I wish to congratulate Fort Beaufort (improved from 44.7% in 2012 to 56.6%), Mt Frere (improved from 49.6% in 2012 to 58.8%in 2013) and Qumbu (which stood at 49congratulate and now stands at 52.6%) We congratulate Sedibeng East District in Gauteng for being the top district in the country (90.7%).

In Gauteng, Free State, Western Cape and Free State, all their districts performed above 80%.

Other noteworthy top performing districts in their provinces are: Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape) 74%, Thabo Mofutsanyane (Free State) 88.4%, Umlazi (KZN) 83.7%, Vhembe (Limpopo) 80.6%, Ehlanzeni District (Mpumalanga) 82.8%, Ngaka M.

Molema District (North West) 90.5%, Namaqua (Northern Cape) 89.4% and Overberg (Western Cape ) actually the bulk of our learners come from poor communities and cannot be far from the truth that model C schools are responsible for our successes in the sector.

For instance, contrary to what some would like the nation and the public to believe that our results hide inequalities, the facts and evidence show that the two top provinces (Free State and North West) are rural and poor.

Similarly over the years learners from rural areas across the country and historical poor and disadvantaged communities continue to feature strongly in our list of top learners, year in and out.

The truth is in terms of learning outcomes in the sector, education remains an equalizer between poor and rich.

In the public sector the majority of our schools are no-fee schools in poor areas.

Therefore, the pass rate of 78.2% is representative of all schools and not only the more affluent part of the system.

It is also encouraging to note that a total of 3270 schools scored a pass rate of 80% and above, this year.

This is almost 50% of our schools and this is more than the double the figure of 1586 schools that scored a pass rate of 80% and above in 2009.

Message for the Class of 2013

I congratulate the class of 2013 for being the best class since the advent of democracy, and encourage every learner to go further than their predecessors and strive to excel in higher education, the workplace and in your general contributions as South African citizens.

Last year I told the class of 2012 that the world is their oyster and I want to repeat this to the class of 2013.

Indeed the world is your oyster, go out there and make the best of this acquired qualification.

We wish to thank the parents, teachers, principals, teacher unions, communities, district and provincial officials for supporting the class of 2013.

To those of you that have not done so well, do not lose heart - there are various options that are still available to you.

The supplementary examinations are one such opportunity.

When the results for the 2012 NSC were announced last year, 377 829 candidates which represents 73.9%, had passed.

After the supplementary examinations an additional 14 349(another 1.7%) passed, increasing the total number of passes to 392 178 which represents 75.6%.

Learners who have not succeeded can also register as Part time candidates.

Of the total number of candidates who wrote the 2013 NSC examination, 131 244 candidates registered to write the examination on a Part Time basis and these candidates demonstrated a reasonable degree of success in the examination.

The NSC results for the class of 2013 is a record performance, the highest compared to any administration in the Republic of South Africa.

These results are indeed historic in host of perspectives, and constitute a major milestone of the current administration and our democratic dispensation.

The combination of increased numbers participating in the NSC, increased numbers passing the NSC, and an increased pass rate, represents an all-round improvement in performance.

The trend of increased performance is confirmed by other international studies such as TIMSS, which are specifically designed to measure trends over time.

Although South Africa performs at a low level in comparison with the majority of countries that participate in TIMSS and PIRLS, which are mainly industrialised economies from OECD countries, the most recent TIMSS study of 2011 shows a substantial improvement in both mathematics and science performance since 2002.

It is especially encouraging that the largest improvements were seen amongst the schools serving poorer learners.

The next opportunity to evaluate trend performance over time will be provided by the soon-to-be-released latest SACMEQ study, which will also allow us to see how we are performing relative to other countries in the Southern and East African region.

One important point to remember when comparing South Africa's performance with that of other countries in the region is that we offer near-universal access to schooling at the grades that are tested, whereas many other African countries have relatively lower enrolment rates.

The 2013 results of 78.2% continues the upward trend in which we are sending a strong message that Basic Education under the new administration has the capacity to improve the quality of education in South Africa.

Although a lot of work is still need to be done, there is overwhelming evidence that we are improving learner performance and we are in the league of high performing systems in the world.

The results clearly show that the system continues to do and there is definitely no looking back.

The key question remains though; why have we improved performance so well over the past four to five years? In other words what are the factors that contributed to this performance and what are the lessons learnt.

The following can account for the healthy upward trend of the learning outcomes in the sector.

There has been greater stability in the sector in curriculum implementation at least for five (5) years.

This has afforded teachers, learners and officials more time to familiarize themselves with the objectives of the curriculum.

We have developed and implemented a comprehensive strategy predicated on the Action to 2014 and the National Development Plan.

The National Strategy for Learner Attainment (NSLA) covered grade R - 12 with 104 activities delineating responsibilities at national, provincial, district up to school level, consistent with the philosophy and change theory adopted by the current administration of making the classroom the centre-piece of everything we do in the sector.

The resourcing and funding for the sector have experienced exponential growth over the years.

Government investment in the sector has progressively grown from 2009 to 2013 from R127 billion to R173 billion.

There has been a marked growth in the number of no-fee schools throughout the country and the increase in the number of schools and learners that benefit from the National School Nutrition Programme.

The mantra of the current administration has been Teachers, Text and Time.

In the State of the Nation address every year, the President has always dedicated time and emphasized this principle.

My Department has ensured that specific and particular attention is paid to realize the President's instructions in this regard.

Throughout the system, the sector has monitored to ensure that teachers are at school on time teaching.

Apart from our Funza Lushaka programme for initial teacher development, for teacher development, the sector focused on subject teacher knowledge gaps.

Pre and post training assessment was carried out to measure the impact of training.

The overwhelming majority of teachers responded positively to the President's call.

The DBE has initiated a teacher union collaboration which funds teacher unions through an evaluation process to train teachers in priority areas supplementary to PED plans.

DBE has set up the TUC Programme which is involved in the training of all members from the five unions in the education sector as well as a continuous professionalization of teachers.

The endorsement of training providers and programmes is being undertaken through the SACE CPTD management system.

The sector has maintained a very strong partnership with civil society.

The establishment of the National Education Collaboration Trust has strengthened the partnership with civil society and galvanised stakeholders to unite in carrying out the objective of providing quality education.

The Trust has already started to deliver on ensuring basic functionality in the system.

It is within this context that I would like to congratulate Mr. Godwin Khoza on his appointment as CEO of the National Education Collaboration Trust as well as the leadership of the Board Chairperson, Mr.

Sizwe Nxasana.

My gratitude also goes to all Teacher Unions, business leaders and formations that outcomes atonal collaboration framework, parent and student bodies, educationists, researchers and institutions of higher education for their valuable intellectual support that they continue to contribute in the direction and information for the success of the sector.

Already from reports of work done by the National Education Collaboration Trust the future for our children is very bright and there is hope of even greater things Furthermore the Wits Equality Scholarships in partnership with the Department of Basic Education has been developed to enable talented learners from disadvantaged communities to access to quality higher education.

The Equality Scholarships are awarded to the top ten performing students from Quintiles 1 and 2 schools as identified by the Department of Basic Education and Wits University.

These full scholarships are worth R100, 000 each per annum, and support the students for the duration of their undergraduate study at Wits, provided that they continue to excel.

These scholarships aim to create hope in society, and in so doing to create meaningful transformation and change in South Africa.

The first recipients of the Wits Vice-Chancellor's Equality Scholarships will be announced at a future event.

This is one example of how government is partnering with higher education and other stakeholders to improve the lives of future generations, who in turn will help us to tackle the challenges of the 21st Century.

The Wits Equality Scholarships are indeed one of the stepping stones that will help to transform the lives of our talented learners, whom we hope will become active citizens in our vibrant democracy.

We also take note of Mr. Mandla Maseko, the winner of a competition which will see him blast off into space for an hour in 2015.

Represent us well young man and continue to inspire other young people! On the other hand, within government itself, to ensure support for government's first priority, the Department of Basic Education has entered into various agreements with other government departments through memorandums of understanding and these include the following departments: Sport and Recreation for schools sports, Correctional Services for schools rehabilitation and school furniture, Labour for school furniture, Rural Development for schools rehabilitation, Police for schools safety, Defence for access bridges where students have to cross rivers in the main and mountainous areas, the Energy and Water Department for water and electricity, Home Affairs for birth registrations and issuing of IDs, and Health for integrated primary health.

More MOUs will be entered with other departments such as that one with Transport for scholar transport, Agriculture etc.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank President Jacob Zuma and the Cabinet for their support and in particular for recognising the strategic importance of education for the country's future.

Way Forward - 2014

The sector needs to urgently reduce repetition and dropout drastically.

We need to take practical steps to address inclusivity and excellence.

Consistent with strengthening Curriculum implementation and providing quality education, the sector needs to continue with the support and monitoring of CAPS implementation.

In addressing inclusivity and access, implementation of CAPS for Technical High Schools; South African Sign Language and the Incremental Introduction of African Languages.

Dealing with the participation and success rate in Mathematics in all grades and in particular Senior Phase and the Further Education and Training Phase, we must implement the findings and recommendations of the MST Ministerial Task Team.

We will also focus on improving literacy, strengthening Library and information Services as well as implementing the findings and recommendations of the Ministerial Task Team on the audit of Reading Programmes and the 2012 NEEDU report on the status of reading in the Foundation Phase.

Message to Class of 2014 As a tribute to our great leader, Nelson Mandela, the class of 2014 and subsequent generations of young people should strive to preserve the quality of education, the flourishing of democracy in governance, enhancement of peace, reconciliation and justice for all, and the demonstration of humility, empathy and Ubuntu.

To quote Tata Madiba, "I do not expect you to be like me, I expect you to be more than me." The target has been set for Class of 2014 to aim towards.

I call upon all of you to help us improve on last year's results.

I would like to acknowledge the support and contribution of parents, guardians and teachers who actually carry the most responsibility in the education chain and all education officials.

Teacher unions must be commended for their support and partnership and I look forward to 201 uninterrupted school days in 2014.

The business sector for their support, both professionally and materially.

We thank the international donor community, the EU, USAID, Scandinavian countries, Japan and Asiatic countries for all their contributions and for making our children their business.

Our appreciation to all the people in general and organisations who supported education in one way or another.

I would like to thank all MECs, HODs, provincial and district officials for their efforts.

I thank my colleague, Deputy Minister Surty for your support and contribution at all times.

Deputy Minister is one of the most dedicated and refined individuals that I have had the privilege to work with.

It has been one of the greatest blessings in my life to serve with this work horse who gives his best at all times, and who puts the interest of others and more important of our children first.

DM - we continue to be indebted to you and your contributions in all our successes.

Thank you to all members of the Education Portfolio Committee, under the chairpersonship of Hope Malgas, and I wish to thank the ANC study group for their ongoing guidance.

Also thank you to the Chairperson Wendy Makgate of the NCOP Select Committee and the members for theirs support and contribution through their oversight of basic education.

It is with sadness also to have to acknowledge the contributions of the late member of the Portfolio Committee Crosby Moni who was laid to rest this past Saturday the 4th January at Cofimvaba.

May his soul rest in peace.

To our Acting Director-General, Mr Paddy Padayachee and his examinations team, thank you for your patriotism.

Once more, thank you for a job well done.

Thank you to my family, my husband, my children and my mother, your continued support has given me strength to remain focussed in our endeavour to achieve a better life for all in our country.

A special thanks to the ANC policy Head of Education, Mrs Naledi Pandor, for her support and guidance.

Conclusion All South Africans should be encouraged that the education and future of their children is in good hardworking and caring hands.

I wish to conclude with these words of Nelson Mandela: "A bright future beckons.

The onus is on us, through hard work, honesty and integrity, to reach for the stars."

Thank you.

Issued by the Department of Basic Education, January 6 2013

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