Minister wishes offenders well in matric exams

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Advocate Michael Masutha has wished the 102 offenders sitting for the 2014 matric examinations success.

“You are holding the key to a brighter future in your hands. Do not let this slip away from you, as any ideal of a thriving economy with a higher capacity to absorb job seekers begins with education,” said the Minister.

Most grade 12 learners across South Africa today started writing the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. The learners sat for a two-hour English paper one exam at 9am, while others wrote a three-hour Visual Arts examination in the afternoon.

The Department of Basic Education today said about 688 660 candidates are registered to write the NSC exams this year.

Minister Masutha commended the steady improvement in the numbers of deserving youth in correctional centres, who are making the most of the education opportunities available to them.

Since 2009, Correctional Services has improved offender access to education through increasing full-time schools from one to 14 and its intake for matric examinations from 29 in 2009 to 102 learners in 2014.

The department has been registering outstanding matric results, with numerous inmates achieving distinctions.

The Department of Correctional Services examination centres include Usethubeni in KwaZulu-Natal, Baviaanspoort and Johannesburg in Gauteng, Barberton Youth and Barberton Maximum in Mpumalanga, as well as St Albans and Cradock in the Eastern Cape.

“Education is our number one priority in South Africa as we strive to realise the ideals of a prosperous nation, as outlined in the National Development Plan.

“To realise our ambitions, we dare not neglect the untapped potential of those incarcerated in correctional centres in our contribution to development and public safety,” Minister Masutha said.

Correctional Services has placed education and training at the centre of its rehabilitation agenda.

A compulsory education policy was introduced in 2012, targeting youth up to the age of 25. One of the challenges identified include the fact that 35 000 offenders do not have a grade nine qualification, while over 5 000 were absolutely illiterate. – SAnews.gov.za