A BENCHMARKING study has found that the new National Senior Certificate compares favourably with international exams.
The study was commissioned by the Independent Examinations Board (IEB). The previous school-leaving qualification in South Africa, the senior certificate, enjoyed similar recognition.
IEB chief executive Anne Oberholzer said: "The motivation for the IEB to embark on the benchmarking study is underpinned by the board's commitment to building the local education landscape and the confidence of detractors in the SA system.
" In 2008 the first cohort of learners at Grade 12 in South Africa wrote the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination.
"Once the results were released, various commentators speculated in the press about the quality of the new NSC qualification and its associated curriculum.
"It was the disquiet that the IEB felt as a result of these speculations that encouraged us to consider an independent evaluation of the qualification and its curriculum."
The benchmarking study took into account the design and assessment framework, broader observations of the curricula restructuring process, course objectives and learning outcome, structure of the final award, assessment process, grading structure and comparisons, quality assurance and control mechanisms.
The study found that the NSC is robust and fit for the purposes of examining senior secondary school levels. In terms of the qualification's comparability, the report concludes that the NSC is comparable to the Advanced Level General Certificate of Education, known as A-levels.
Umalusi chief executive Mafu Rakometsi said: "The fact that the report, commissioned from UK Naric, the organisation which evaluates foreign qualifications for equivalence-setting purposes in the UK, regards the NSC as a robust qualification, albeit with areas that can be strengthened, accords closely with Umalusi's own research on the NSC."