From 2020, EDGE LEARNING MEDIA, are going to require reference numbers from ANYBODY that wants to order ICB books from them. So this means that they will either have to be an ICB provider or if they are a student, will have to provide an ICB Student number.

Currently, students are registering for study with distance providers or self-study, and getting materials etc, but only registering with ICB 9 months later or NEVER. So, this has been done to ensure that only valid students can order books.

BUT, this does not mean that a student has to register for an exam. It means that they have to create a profile on the Student Portal and get a student number – They do not have to pay the Annual reg fee either, just get a student number.

The benefit for providers is that we are clamping down on people just buying books and not registering, and for people that are buying books and illegally copying them and then distributing to self-study students.

We have seen a rather alarming increase in the number of students who write incorrect exams and we can conclude that both the student and the training provider are responsible for incorrect exams being written. We explain the various types of cases we’ve had to deal with below.

 

The exam is written at an incorrect venue

A number of correspondence students have written exams at incorrect venues. We wish to reiterate that all our correspondence students must write their exams at the allocated ICB correspondence venues. The specific venue will be selected by the learner upon booking the exam, ICB will further confirm the learner’s selection on their student profile and exam confirmation letter. Under no circumstances should a training provider or ICB correspondence venue, allow learners that are not on the exam attendance register for that particular exam and for that particular day, to write the exam at their venues.

 

The exam is written on an incorrect date

All examinations must be written on the date that was booked by the learner or the college, this would be further confirmed by ICB on the student profile, through the ICB exam attendance register and exam confirmation letter.

 

The incorrect exam is written

The incorrect exam is written means that the student has written an incorrect exam subject. Both providers and learners would be held responsible for an incorrect exam written.

 

We wish to remind providers that students writing incorrect exams is a serious irregularity and responsibility for such is placed on both the provider and the learner. In addition to the learners’ results being declared null and void, ICB would furthermore impose fines on the provider and the students would need to apply for a re-write.

We urge training providers to implement internal quality control to eliminate irregularities concerning incorrect exam papers in order to ensure that learners are not disadvantaged due to negligence. Learners are also encouraged to make sure that they check their exam timetables and take note of their exam dates and venues, this should be part of the exam rules that are read out to learners before the exam commences.

ICB will not accept incorrect exam paper submissions.

Many of our students and even providers still believe in the power of using past exam papers to prepare for upcoming exams, however past exam papers are exactly that, they are past. Let’s admit it! no examining body would make use of the same exam paper more than once, which begs the question: why study an old exam paper?

We totally get that students wish to have an idea of the paper format in their exam preparations and this is exactly why Edge Learning Media, our textbook supplier avails mock exam papers to colleges and learners. The mock exam papers are carefully and deliberately put together in such a way that they give an accurate idea of the kind of questioning, structure, and length of the paper you may expect in our exam.

Studying a past exams often means studying the specific information or questions contained in that past exam for the purpose of studying only those questions and the answers therefore. On the upside, studying a mock exam means the learner studies all their work and then make use of the mock exam paper to study the structure, length, style and type of questions they may expect in their upcoming exam.

The other reasons why past exam papers are not available is because outcomes may change resulting in the content of the past exam papers being outdated so we need to protect the credibility of the ICB exams and make sure that learners do not waste time studying a document that could very well be outdated!

So, what about those students and colleges that are suspected to be in possession of past exam papers? Well one thing is for sure, whoever is in possession of past exam papers could land themselves in serious trouble but here’s how we monitor this:

  • Colleges responsible for printing the exam papers are well aware of the fact that they cannot keep possession of past papers, let alone distribute them
  • ICB frequently monitors online platforms to ensure that past exam papers are not being distributed on gumtree, drop boxes, via e-mail, WhatsApp groups etc.
  • ICB investigates suspicious activity and although we often find that what is being distributed is official mock exam papers we continue to investigate anyway

We urge our training providers and learners to immediately alert us about any persons that are in possession of past exam papers or even upcoming exam papers and providers or persons who are making past exam papers available to their students! The information you provide will be treated with the utmost confidentiality!

The ICB wishes to once again remind its accredited training providers that as Skills Development Providers (SDPs) you are required to register as private colleges with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The due date for the submission of applications is 30 November 2018.

The ICB is aware that DHET has many pending applications and as a result at current we are accepting Letters of Acknowledgement of Application on DHET letterheads as proof of application for registration and once DHET has communicated all the outcomes of the applications they received, we will then request providers to send us the actual proof of registration.

DHET should respond to each application with the said letter, however, it is the responsibility of the training provider to follow up with DHET and ensure that this letter is received and sent to ICB as your proof of application.

Public colleges are also requested to submit a letter indicating their status as registered public colleges with DHET, this letter should also be on a DHET letterhead.

Being a training provider comes with a host of responsibilities. You’re often held to high expectations as a provider by ICB, SETAS and other professional bodies and stakeholders.

However, no one is perfect; there is always room to learn and grow. Compliance is a continuous process that often comes with continuous learning.

With that said, let’s look at the top five common findings that we have identified during QMVs and how to fix them, in no particular order:

 

1 Fireproof, lockable storage for exam papers

Exam material including exam scripts, question papers and PoEs must be kept in a fireproof storage to prevent them from getting damaged in case of fire. For extra security, the storage needs to be lockable and access controlled to avoid unauthorised persons from accessing the exam material.

2 ICB policies

ICB updates its policies annually and updated policies are uploaded on to the provider portal. These can be downloaded or printed from the General Downloads section on the portal, alternatively provider may e-mail ICB support and request copies of the policies.

3 Usage of Logos

Please refrain from using old ICB logos. Current logos are uploaded on the ICB portal and can also be requested by contacting ICB Support

4 ICB Exam Invigilation & Irregularity policy not signed

This policy serves to guide and regulate the exam procedures followed before; during and after an exam by the invigilators to ensure that the risk of irregularities is minimised and discourages students from attempting any action which could result in an irregularity occurring. It is therefore important that providers and invigilators read the policy, sign it and keep the signed record.

5 Please ensure that there are evacuation plans on the walls

The OHS Act requires all employers to keep evacuation plans displayed on the interior walls of the building where everyone including visitors can see it. Changes to the layout of the building, the introduction of new hazards, or significant changes will necessitate writing a new plan.

We wish to thank ICB Providers for continuously working with us to ensure compliance with ICB and industry standards and regulations.

The ICB is currently working on introducing new digital platforms for colleges and students. One of these exciting platforms has been introduced to providers on the 6th of June.

With new technology, there are certain security rules that apply to protect access.

It is therefore now a requirement for all students (college-based or distance) to have unique email addresses on their profiles. (ie No duplications or college admin addresses).  We have now built in checks to control this better.

We also conducted a data clean-up process which highlighted some errors and duplications on existing information.  These email addresses have now been flagged as “invalid” and changed to an “@none” email address. You will not be able to register students for exams until this student’s email address has been updated.

The new report on the provider portal, is to facilitate you to check all the email addresses for your students. Before you could only check each student individually, but now you will be able to download contact information for all the students in one report.

This report can be found on the provider portal in the Reports tab. The report is called “Learner Contact Info”.

ICB Portal

 

We are looking forward to working with you to ensure that we have current and valid data for all our students so that we can support them better with you on their journey with the ICB and your institution.

The ICB is aware that a number of students are still waiting for their Fasset qualification certificates to be issued to them. The ICB has been working with Fasset to determine the course of action for all delayed certificates.

We are happy to inform you that an agreement between the two organisations has recently been reached. Fasset has committed to printing and sending all outstanding certificates to ICB by end of June 2018. The ICB therefore expects to receive all outstanding certificates during this period.

The ICB expects to receive a large volume of certificates from Fasset during the period mentioned above and as such our Operations Team will make the necessary arrangements to ensure that we have additional resources to audit the certificates as fast as we can before we send them out to the students and colleges.

The normal ICB review and audit process takes about 2 weeks from receipt of the certificates, thereafter they will be despatched and sent to the Postal address provided for all Correspondence/ Distant learning students and to the College/ Provider for all face-to-face students.  All going well, you should receive your certificates in the 1st week of August.

Learners are reminded that all certification queries should be forwarded to their respective colleges or to the ICB Support Team at support@icb.org.za and not directly to Fasset.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

The following topics are commonly identified by ICB’s assessors during marking, and students who fall into these categories (regardless of whether accidentally or not) may find themselves disqualified or facing disciplinary action.

Incorrect exam written

The first irregularity which could be easily avoided, is students writing the incorrect exam. This occurs in the form of students writing the incorrect subject, as well as students writing the correct subject, but for the incorrect date (i.e. writing the Monday exam on the Saturday). This is very problematic because not only will the student be disqualified, the following exam will also be compromised, affecting other students as well. Providers are urged to please ensure that students are given the correct exams on the correct days, a this issue is disadvantaging students unnecessarily.

Plagiarism

ICB Assessors often identify students who submit very similar work with no citations, this is unacceptable and is considered an offence. Students found guilty of this could have their work rejected as null and avoid or face other disciplinary action.

Students must be made aware that any assistance that contributed to the production of their work should be acknowledged through citations and indentation, including help from fellow students and any other sources. The reader should always know which part of the work is based on independent thoughts or research and which part isn’t.

Plagiarism may be described as written falsification or representing another person’s work or thoughts as your own, with or without their approval or by combining their work with your work without acknowledgement. Plagiarism may also be deliberate or accidental. Regardless of the circumstances, under exam regulations deliberate or accidental plagiarism is an offence.

Suspected cheating

Another issue flagged by assessors is suspected cheating. Students suspected of cheating are closely monitored in future exams. Mechanisms such as our seating plans have been put in place to manage issues such as cheating and providers are asked to adhere to these guidelines to assist ICB assessors in identifying cheating students.

Caught cheating

The fourth most common issue identified by ICB assessors is students caught cheating. The ramifications of this are huge because not only are students disqualified, the integrity of ICB courses are also compromised. Providers are asked to remain vigilant during exam proceedings to ensure that students marks are indeed a reflection of their competence, and to notify the ICB of students cheating so that the relevant procedures can be followed.