Main Article Content
Public Schools, Independent Schools, Umalusi, Benchmarking, Quality Education
A new education curriculum for a new democratic dispensation was welcomed and unavoidable in South Africa after the first democratic election in 1994. The main reason for this radical change within education was that policymakers needed to move away from the apartheid curriculum with all its attendant political baggage and address the laudable outcomes of skills, knowledge and values for purposes of achieving social justice, equality and development. Within this curriculum, the South African Schools’ Act (Act 84 of 1996) recognises two broad categories of schools – public and independent schools. All public schools follow the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) and independent schools have the freedom to choose which curriculum and which examination body they want their learners to write, as long as the examining body is recognised by Umalusi.
This article will reflect on the quality of education provided in schools by analysing the roles and impact of public and independent schools writing the National Senior Certificate in South Africa. It is important, in this context, to provide a historical overview of the background of examination bodies that have impacted on the South African school system. It is also deemed necessary to reflect on and discuss the public and independent school sector by focussing on factors influencing the logistical orientation of these sectors as well as reflecting on indicators influencing the Grade 12 examination. After analysing these factors and reflecting on issues that influence quality education in South Africa, recommendations will be made in an effort to contribute to the improvement of the standard of education in South Africa.