Benchmark and SACAI united under the leadership of Keith Maseko

Keith Maseko has been appointed joint chief executive officer of both Benchmark Assessment Agency and the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI). The appointment sees the coming together of two assessment bodies that serve two very specific niches in South Africa’s education sector. Together, they are able to offer a holistic educational approach to South Africans who are not pursuing traditional schooling channels.

An industrial psychology and development studies graduate, Maseko boasts considerable experience in the training and development sector. He joined Benchmark as its CEO in early 2015, at a time when the organisation was struggling to secure accreditation through Umalusi, the council that sets and monitors standards for general and further education and training in South Africa. Under his leadership, Benchmark not only received its provisional accreditation from Umulasi in 2016, but also added five additional subjects to the provisionally accredited qualification a year later.

A vision defined by innovation and inclusivity

At the age of 36, Maseko is among the youngest CEO in his industry, and one of the most visionary leaders in the sector. Innovation and inclusivity are his highest priorities.

“At Benchmark, we’re particularly proud of our innovative approaches to guiding and improving assessment practices in South Africa,” says Maseko. “Our online training programmes and videos help invigilators and exam managers to comply with exam centre rules, and ensure educators know how to guide learners on compiling their projects properly.” The programmes are available on the Benchmark website for a small fee and a certificate is provided as soon as each course is completed. The content is available for two years after applicants sign up.

The company is also committed to offering assessments that are more inclusive to learners with disabilities and learning difficulties. “In our online invigilator training programme, we specifically address exam concessions, and the different arrangements that can be made for learners who deal with physical and mental challenges,” he explains. “This helps prepare invigilators to deal with the requirements of different learners, so that everyone can be properly and fairly assessed.” Benchmark aims to widen its research by exploring innovative, cost-effective and fair assessment practices that are favour inclusive education in South Africa.

Helping South Africa’s forgotten learners

Benchmark assesses adult learners up to AET Level 4 – or NQF Level 1, equivalent to Grade 9. These learners are typically previously disadvantaged individuals who were unable to complete their primary and secondary education. SACAI, on the other hand, concerns itself with distance learners seeking to write their National Senior Certificate Grade 12 (or NQF Level 4).

As these two bodies come together, they will be able to offer a comprehensive education solution to South Africans who are not included in conventional approaches to education, or who have deliberately chosen an alternative.

“Benchmark and SACAI are on hand to help learners who are looking to complete their Grade 9 equivalent and Grade 12 qualifications through alternative processes,” says Maseko. “Our high-quality assessment approach is convenient, compliant and readily available.”

Benchmark and SACAI will also benefit from their close affiliation to the Southern Africa Association for Educational Assessment (SAAEA), whose access to pioneering research offers insight into improving both learner performance and assessment processes.

The future of assessments in South Africa

“Looking ahead,” Maseko says, “assessments need to feed back into teaching and learning systems so that they can continuously improve, and they need to make use of the latest developments in technology. They also need to cater for all, ensuring that no one is left behind.”

Positioned at the helm of both Benchmark and SACAI, which will ultimately be formally merged, Maseko is ideally placed to ensure that these goals are met. In this way, these organisations will contribute not only to the improvement of South Africa’s educational sector but also to the ongoing development of the country’s economy.

For more information, please contact Benchmark Assessment Agency on:


011 234 9944

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