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MEC Gade briefs media on education matters for improved Education Outcomes

Author: ECDOE
Date: 16/05/2023

Programme Director
Members of the Media 
People of the EC Province
Ladies and gentlemen 


Today I have convened this media briefing to provide an update on some of the critical programmes that the sector has embarked on in delivering its core mandate, that of providing basic education to the learners of this province.

Let me start by introducing to you formally, the Acting Head of Department, Dr A.S. Nuku, in absentia, who joined the department on the 1st of April 2023.

Dr Nuku is not new to the sector, he is a well renowned educationist who brings a lot of experience and expertise to advance transformation of education in this province.  

Writing of May/June NSC Examination

Ladies and gentlemen, writing of National Senior Certificate mid-year exaninations for 2023 academic year is currently underway. As you may be aware, the Eastern Department of Education (ECDoE) is responsible for the examinations of all Grades 1-12 learners in the province enrolled in our schools, approved independent schools and approved examination centres.

The basic principle of assessment and examinations is to provide fair and equitable opportunities for all learners that are registered in the examination. Grade 12 remains the highest qualification that can be obtained in the Basic Education phase. This therefore renders the NSC qualification to be of national and public interest.

A total number of thirty thousand and thirty-five (30 035) candidates have been registered for the current exams and are categorised as follows: -

  • Supplementary candidates from 2022 Nov/Dec examinations
  • Candidates who were absent with valid reasons.
  • Candidates who were unable to complete their exam.
  • Candidates who want to improve their achievement status.
  • Senior Certificate candidates.

The number of centres is 752, inclusive of the supplementary/NSC and 2023 June candidates.

In order to ensure that the 2023 NSC examination is credible and error free, the Department shall focus in improving the eight areas, namely;

  1. Accurate registration of centres and learners
  2. High quality, question papers of the appropriate standard.
  • Secure movement of question papers from origination to the examination venue.
  1. Monitoring of the writing of examinations
  2. Marking of the appropriate standard applicable to every examination script.
  3. Accuracy of resulting.
  • Detection and management of irregularities.
  • Issuing of Certificates on time.

There are no major challenges encountered during the writing of these examinations and as a sector, we will continue to monitor the process as it unfolds. 

Provincial Common June Examination 

Ladies and gentlemen, the Provincial June common examination is administered in all 943 schools in the province. There are only three (3) performing schools that opted not to participate in the examinations as they have their own assessment programme.

Programe Director, let me indicate that the main purpose to run these exams is to provide some kind of support programme for the current Grade 12 learners who were never exposed to a standardised common assessment from Grade 10 due to Covid-19 and its regulations.

An Assessment Instruction 24 of 2023 was issued with the final timetable and the exams will start on 29 May and conclude on 19 June 2023.

Infrastructure Update

Ladies and gentlemen, as we endevour to improve education outcomes in the provice, we remain confident and committed in the acceleration of the implementation of the infrastructure program in our schools.

The total allocation for 2023/24 financial year R1,8 billion inclusive of R12,9 million for Early Childhood Development Grant and R3,491 million for Expanded Public Works Program.

Eleven (11) schools have been identified as priorities to upgrade existing buildings and provide new hostels to schools in need to house learners to improve the quality of learning at schools. Of these, five are under planning and six have been allocated budgets in the 2023/24 financial year.

Furthermore, the Department has prioritised the completion of active and contracted projects to the value of R911 million and R265 million for procurement of additional classrooms, disaster projects, and minor maintenance projects, amongst others.

In addition, ten major multi-year projects have been budgeted for the financial year 2023/24, at just over R295 million. 


To mitigate the water shortages being experienced in the province, nine hundred and eighty-eight (988) water tanks will be provided to 322 Schools in the province at a total cost of almost R14 million.  Appointment of contractors for this program is in progress.

Security Fencing

We currently have one hundred and ninety-six (196) fencing projects in our programme (R272 million), of these seventy (70) have been completed, eighty-four (84) are under construction and contractors have been appointed for 42 projects. 

Additional Classrooms

Additional classrooms utilising Alternative Building Methodology will be provided to 74 schools in the province at a cost of almost R32 million. Of these twenty-eight (28) have been completed and the rest are in various stages of procurement and construction. 

Sanitation Projects

The SAFE program, which is a national initiative is complimentary to the Education Infrastructure Grant and aims to provide sanitation facilities to schools in the Eastern Cape.

In the 2023/24 financial year two hundred and thirty-four (234) SAFE projects with a total project value of sixty-three million, five hundred and ninety-five thousand, four hundred and 51 (R63,595,451) will -be rolled out to schools.  Of these, one hundred and ninety-one (191) are currently in planning, thirty-eight (38) are under construction.

NSNP Update

Programe Director, The National School Nutrition Program is one of the critical programmes implemented by the sector. For 2023/24 financial year, we have 1.6mil learners that benefit from the program with a budget of R1.6bil.

As of 09 May 2023, all schools were able to purchase their groceries as we managed to transfer School Nutrition funds to all benefitting schools.

Monitoring of this program remains critical to ensure that it achieves its intended purpose.

Lower Saxon Awards

Ladies and gentlemen, our learners are making us proud as the EC Province. We have learners who participated in the virtual youth conference hosted by the state of Lower Saxony in the federal Republic of Germany which took place on the 06th of October 2022.

These learners came from two Eastern Cape schools, namely Greenpoint and Nyanga Secondary Schools. These learners in their dialogue, shared their perspectives on sustainable development goals (SDG No. 9) which espouses for joint actions to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and support innovation and (SGD No 13) which calls for action combat climate, both which are of particular relevance to our Eastern Cape Province.

These learners were issued with certificates of participation in the conference. As a sector, we will be awarding these certificates to these learners in their respective schools. On the 18th May we will be at Greenpoint S.S.S and on the 26th of May, we will be at Nyanga S.S.S.

MEC’s Awards

Ladies and gentlemen, we may be aware that the Eastern Cape Department of education has, over the past few years gained consistent systemic improvements.

These improvements are observed in the NSC examinations, which is the only nationally standardized assessment in the country. For the first time in 2018 the province broke 70% threshold in NSC and continued to improve and obtained 77,3 % in 2022, the best results ever.

Equally, qualitative improvements have taken place on the percentage of learners who become eligible to pursue their studies at the university. That is, learners who obtain bachelor passes increased from 27,4% to 36.8% in 2022.

Both milestones were ground-breaking in the province. All these achievements led to the MEC for education in the province taking a decision to invest in the human capital responsible for these improvements through material acknowledgement and recognition.

Program Director, the target set for this current academic year is 80% and above. The analysis of results in the first quarter indicates that we managed to achieve 80.8% and this has been a steady increase from 74.3% in 2021 and 75.5% in 2022.

All the improvements attained, are as a result of the toils of our educators who sacrifice it all to obtain good results out of difficult circumstances.

These efforts should not go unnoticed hence we decided that as a sector, that we should claim our space and not only appreciate what the teacher unions are doing to recognize good perfomance amongst their members, but that we need to up our game and occupy that space.

We are now starting a journey of recognizing, acknowledging and appreciating the excellent performance and the contribution of schools and educators, our employees, to the Education sector in the Province of the Eastern Cape.

On the 23rd of May 2023, we will be awarding the best performing schools under the categories of Quintile 1 to Quintile 5 and also the best performing teachers across the sector. This will be done in partnership with the private sector, Department of Education and our stakeholders.

Private/Business sector plays a pivotal role in the promotion of Education in the Eastern Cape.  

The stakes are high as we managed to source some incentives as tokens of appreciation and amongst such items, we will be giving out cars to the best performing schools of this province. 2023 will never be the same again.

As I conclude, today is the last session of our engagements with the principals of schools to present plans by the department in ensuring that we achieve our targets for this year.

I thank all of you for accepting our invite to this media briefing.

We continue to appreciate all efforts by all role players in education to ensure that we support schooling, holistically including support by private business. This is done for the benefit of the child of this province and the country at large, Isandla sihlamba esinye.