Lesufi has called for all matrics in South Africa to write the same exams.

The chief executive officer (CEO) of the Independent Examination Board (IEB) has responded to the comments made by Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi.

The premier sparked a debate on the future of South Africa’s education system on social media after calling for all matric pupils to write the same exams.

‘Policy debate’

Speaking to eNCA on Thursday, IEB CEO Confidence Dikgole sought to explain that the private assessment body was not competing with the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

“It’s not the IEB and the NSC [National Senior Certificate], it’s the NSC period. All the South African learners who wrote the 2023 exam wrote the National Senior Certificate exam premised on the same Caps [curriculum and assessment policy statement] curriculum [or] the minister’s curriculum.

“The difference is that there are three assessment bodies in South Africa currently that are recognised in terms of the law. The DBE is one of assessment bodies, the IEB is other and there’s yet another [assessment body which is] the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute. The three of them all offer the same curriculum,” she said.

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Dikgole stressed that the IEB offered “different exams, but on the same curriculum”.

“It’s about how a curriculum is delivered and taught and how the standards are set in terms of the examinations. That’s where the difference lies, but it’s the same curriculum that these learners are being assessed on,” she said.

The IEB CEO labelled the conversation sparked by Lesufi as an “academic, policy and constitutional debate”.

She also highlighted that the country’s Constitution affords people the right to freedom of choice.

“I think there are better ways of handling this debate. Why are we not getting around the table and discussing this so that we point out all angles pertaining to this, but let me just say that the whole notion around that the IEB caters for the elite is not true,” Dikgole continued.

‘Quality education for the poor’

Meanwhile, Lesufi clarified his comments, saying he was not calling for the IEB and Sacai to be scrapped.

“What I am calling for is that we are one country called South Africa, let all our children write one examination. You can’t have other children writing a better maths, while other children are writing an inferior maths in our own country.

“If we believe IEB or any other is the best, give it to all the children to write the best examination. It must not be on the basis of those that have resources can be in a position to write this examination and those that do not have resources will not be in a position to write this examination,” he told eNCA.

READ MORE: Panyaza Lesufi calls for one exam for all

The premier explained that he was of the view that some of the matric pupils will still have to write the same examinations for their courses at a tertiary institution so “why not prepare them early”.

“In short, I am calling for one examination for all our children. If a certain examination is the best, actually then that best education must be given to all our children, especially the poor. You need quality education for the poor children to be uplifted.

“What we are fighting for is quality for all. No one must be discriminated on the basis of their financial wellbeing and on the basis of where they stay, or a curriculum that we really believe is equal to everyone. Let all our children write the same examination. If IEB is the best, let all of us write it,” Lesufi added.


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