Hon Chairperson, the purpose of the oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape was to assess the state of the national senior certificate examination readiness for 2012. This included assessing the state of security systems for printing, distribution and storage of examination question papers, as well as the procedures in place to conduct the examinations.
The delegation also undertook site tours of the printing, packaging, distribution and storage facilities for examination question papers in order to obtain first-hand knowledge of the state of security in those facilities. Previously, on 16 November 2010, the committee was in KwaZulu- Natal, and there were challenges relating to power failures in some examination centres as well as security measures, staffing and conditions relating to storing facilities. The current visit to this district was to evaluate the progress made in addressing these issues.
In respect of the Northern Cape, besides visiting the examination centre, the committee had undertaken an oversight visit early in October 2012, where it was praised on issues around the protest action experienced in this region, the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality in the Northern Cape. As a committee, we must state that when it comes to the examination centre in the Northern Cape, it is really state of the art. There are other provinces as well. We know that the Free State province will be going to the Northern Cape just to emulate their centre.
There were a few observations. When it comes to KwaZulu-Natal, the observations made were that the committee commended the department of education in KwaZulu-Natal for their thorough preparation for the 2012 national senior certificate examination, which included preparing learners early in the year through intervention programmes. They also addressed issues raised by the committee during the previous oversight visit.
It was important that the department gave the necessary support to those districts that performed badly in the past. There were huge anomalies in the provinces with regard to the number of learners versus that of educators in various districts. We were concerned about how this would impact the smooth running of the department. Our concerns also related to the infrastructure backlog. The committee was interested to know what systems were in place when it came to giving assistance and support to the special needs learners.
Hon members, I am sorry, I won't be long. I just wanted to quickly get to the concerns of the Northern Cape. I will read one or two concerns, because I have to commend the department. The committee was satisfied that the Northern Cape's department of education was ready and prepared to administer the national senior certificate examination.
The national Department of Basic Education had made the necessary preparations, including the registration of learners, examination centres, packing, printing and storage. We undertook an oversight visit to the province in October 2012. The committee would like to applaud the national department for, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, creating the necessary environment for learners affected by the protest action to continue their schooling at special centres. We would like to thank the national department for that.
The competency test for markers is a contentious issue and was a concern to us. Members queried the reason some schools were allowed to store question papers. On that note, I would like to say that there are recommendations in the report ... [Inaudible.]. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
There was no debate.