The UMALUSI Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training has appointed UKZN’s Professor Delia North as a member of their Assessment Standards Committee.

North is the Academic Leader of the Discipline of Statistics in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science.

Her colleague, Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Mathematics Dr Sudan Hansraj, who served on the Committee from 2002 to 2006, has been reappointed this year.

‘The brief of UMALUSI (isiXhosa for “shepherd”) is to ensure that qualifications in South Africa are accredited at the appropriate education level,’ said Hansraj. ‘In particular, UMALUSI governs the exit examination, namely the matric examination, and also oversees the qualifications of persons from outside South Africa to ensure equivalence of qualifications.’

North and Hansraj have been invited to serve as academics on the Standardisation Panel which comprises statisticians, mathematicians, mathematics educationists and staff of UMALUSI.

Hansraj said the Standardisation Committee role was to ensure the matric examination standard was maintained from year to year and that any deviations were measured against an averaging of performance over the previous five years.

This process ensured that students had been fairly examined and that current matriculants were in a comparable position to their counterparts in the previous year.  

North follows in the footsteps of Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Wits, Professor Paul Fatti, a highly respected and experienced statistician who served in the position for eight years. Fatti recommended North for the position based on her immeasurable experience as a statistician and educationist.

‘I am very honoured to serve on the UMALUSI Assessments Standards Committee, in particular to follow on from Professor Paul Fatti,’ said North. ‘The scope of work that this committee does includes overseeing the standards of final examinations in government schools, independent schools, FET Colleges and adult education centres.’

Her work at the University has allowed North to share her wealth of knowledge throughout the years through teaching as well as through several outreach projects for in-service teachers around the country.

‘With the current debate about education levels in the country, I feel it is a great time to serve on a committee of this nature. I look forward to working with an excellent team towards ensuring that the best possible crop of learners enters the tertiary institutions of their choice.  I have been passionate about education for many years - at my university, nationally and internationally - as nothing is more worthy of my time than working with our young people, the leaders of tomorrow,’ said North.

Hansraj has been instrumental in furthering mathematics education, both at school and tertiary level for many years. He has also been involved in a number of outreach initiatives including tuition programmes for underprivileged high school students in the greater Durban area.

‘It is a great achievement for the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science to have two members on the UMALUSI Standardisation Panel,’ said North.

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