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Curriculum, Apartheid, Standardization, Benchmarking, Higher Education
The period 1994-2011 introduced a new historical era for school education in South Africa. Outcomes-based Education (OBE) was introduced and was controversial from the outset for educators and policymakers alike. The reason given for the implementation of OBE was to move away from the apartheid curriculum and to address skills, knowledge and values. However, there were various shortcomings and many implementation problems that had to be addressed. Educators perceived the OBE approach to education as so problematic that it has now, finally, had to be scrapped. At this stage, the National Senior Certificate (NSC) is the exit point for school leavers and serves as a benchmark for tertiary education. Standardization is the tool used to make adjustments to Grade 12 results to correct fluctuations in performance that are the results of factors within the examination processes rather than the knowledge and abilities of candidates but this has a direct impact on the results of candidates. International benchmarking tests (e.g. TIMSS) have been introduced at the end of Grades 3, 6, and 9 to test the competency of learners in Mathematics and Science. Compared to other participating countries, the outcome for South African learners was exceedingly poor and this is seen as a reason for serious concern.
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