Umm Muhammed Umar
Professor Yunus Ballim of the WITS School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been appointed as the new chairperson of the Umalusi Council this week. The new Umalusi Council, to be officially installed in September this year, would serve from 2020 to 2026. Radio Islam spoke to Dr Mafu Rakometsi, Chief Executive Officer of Umalusi.
Dr Rakometsi said that the Minister of Education had appointed Professor Yunus Ballim to be the chairperson of Council. He said, “Professor comes to the Humanities Council with extensive experience in Education, having served for many years in the Engineering Department at the University of Witwatersrand. Further, Professor Ballim has been the Vice Chancellor of Sol Plaatje University, in Kimberley.” Dr Rakometsi, “In fact, he is the founding vice chancellor who started that university, from scratch.” Professor Ballim is sitting for a second term on the Council, previously having been just a member. He had, however, been for 4 years chairing the assessments committee that standardizes the results at the end of each year.
Dr Rakometsi said, “We are all systems go for the end of this year in terms of our preparations; the question papers have been prepared already; the timetable is out already.” He added, “we are doing the final touches in terms of checking the school-based assessment.” The Department is in the process of appointing markers to mark the exam papers at the end of the year.”
According to Dr Rakometsi, the role of the Umalusi Council touched on a number of things: the qualifications that are in the space of General and Further Education and Training, and the curriculum that underpins those qualifications. He explained that Umalusi also accredited private institutions to offer its qualifications. He elaborated, “then we quality assure assessment in the manner that South Africa knows, and then we issue certificates once the learner achieved the qualification.”
Umalusi does a ‘benchmarking’ exercise to compare the National Senior Certificate, or Matric, with equivalent qualifications in other countries, to ensure that South African students who want to study abroad make the grade. Dr Rakometsi said that a report would be launched later this year detailing the findings of how SA’s National Senior Certificate compares with other qualifications of similar type in other countries.
Expectations regarding this year’s matriculants seem quite high. Dr Rakometsi said, “We have had the less and less disruptions, the schools have been running properly since the beginning of the year. There have been no COVID disruptions this year.” He added, “However, these students have lost some learning time in the earlier grades, in 2020 and 2021, therefore they will have to double their efforts in order to perform adequately.”