Pietermaritzburg - Six education department officials who were allegedly involved in serious irregularities and four who were implicated in leaking a matric exam paper have been suspended.
This emerged in a report on the administration of the national senior certificate examination which was presented to the education portfolio committee at the KwaZulu-Natal legislature on Thursday.
Compiled by the department, the report said that some serious irregularities had occurred in some of the schools in the province involving teachers, invigilators and chief invigilators.
“Six officials of the department have been suspended as a result of these irregularities,” it said.
Disciplinary action would be taken.
During the writing of the economics paper, an invigilator caught a pupil with a copy of a page from the paper, containing handwritten answers. This incident was reported to have taken place at Durban High School.
The paper was confiscated and the pupil was given a new script to restart the exam.
Investigations have been initiated to establish if any more pupils had received the question paper prior to the exam. Four officials implicated in this regard have been suspended.
ANC MPL and chairman of the standing committee on public accounts, Sipho Nkosi, said that security had been “very tight” at the facility where the exam papers had been kept with monitoring by CCTV cameras.
“But, you can’t have one person monitoring cameras in such a sacred place. I don’t understand how it happened when there are cameras… you didn’t do well,” he told department officials.
The fact that papers were leaked indicated that department officials were “corrupt” and that there were syndicates operating within it.
“We don’t know if they were selling the papers,” he said.
A department official responded that security may have to be improved and that “other human elements”, who may have been overlooked, needed to be dealt with.
Aside from the problems noted, the report stated that the examinations had progressed very well.
Monitors had been assigned to schools with a history of serious irregularities.
The good news was that marking was expected to be completed four days earlier than the December 15 cut-off date. A total of 70 papers were being marked across the province for 132 585 full-time pupils and 24 873 part-timers at 28 marking centres. Altogether 1 799 028 scripts would be marked.
Examination assistants had been employed to do the final checking of the totals and mark allocation, the politicians were told. - The Mercury