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Thursday, 8 August, 2002, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Upbeat message on Scots exam results
History papers
Millions of exam papers have been marked
Scotland's education minister was told there would be no repeat of past exam result fiascos, when she visited the body which runs the country's examinations.

Cathy Jamieson on Thursday visited the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Dalkeith offices to see preparations for the delivery of 137,000 certificates next week.

She was told things were progressing smoothly and she praised the "increased level of communication and transparency" at the body.

Since the end of the exam season on 13 June, the SQA has collected and marked 1.25 million papers from over 500 centres.

Cathy Jamieson
Cathy Jamieson: Reassured by her SQA visit

SQA chief executive David Fraser told the minister that the hiring of extra markers had helped the processing of thousands of papers.

The results of Standard Grades and Higher examinations are expected on Tuesday and Mr Fraser said he was confident there would be no repeat of previous marking problems.

He said: "The SQA has made good progress this year, thanks to the efforts of many throughout Scotland's education community.

"To ensure our continued development an extensive programme of consultation has been carried out with all involved and the fruits of that process are becoming evident."

'Hard work'

Ms Jamieson, who is the MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, said she was reassured that candidates would receive the correct results on time this year.

She said: "I think what's been very important is that the SQA has been very clear and focused, it has worked out a plan to recruit markers and staff.

"Right through the organisation here people have worked very hard because we know how important this is to young people."

The SQA is still trying to regain public confidence after the debacle of 2000, when about 6,000 pupils received late or incorrect results.

Exams sign
The executive has invested in the SQA

The Scottish Executive has given the body additional funding to prevent a repeat of the disaster.

The minister said she hoped the SQA could become a self-financing body once again in the future following the overhaul of the operation.

But she said she could not guarantee that this year's results would run with 100% accuracy.

Ms Jamieson said: "There's always a situation where there may be an error in any system.

"I could never guarantee that every candidate will get everything absolutely right.

"But having seen the operation here and seeing that the deadlines have been met, certainly things will be better than last year and the year before."

See also:

13 Jun 02 | Scotland
06 Jun 02 | Scotland
25 Jan 02 | Scotland
10 Jan 02 | Scotland
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