Durban - Students at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges are still waiting for results from first trimester exams because of “irregularities” uncovered in a number of subjects.
Last month, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) presented a report to the parliamentary portfolio committee on education which implicated 38 exam centres, 29 subjects and 211 candidates in exam leaks.
Findings included evidence of “ghost writers”; candidates in possession of question papers and crib notes; colleges opening papers ahead of time and candidates helping each other.
The department had issued a statement in May saying officials had detected irregularities in Engineering Studies subjects in this year’s first trimester exams which led to an investigation.
“A decision was made to withhold the results of the candidates to allow the department to determine the extent of the irregularities.”
The department said 29 of 171 N1 to N6 Engineering Studies subjects were compromised, however, results were to have been released by May 24.
But this was not the case in Durban, where parents contacted the Daily News after their children were left waiting almost three months for results.
One parent, Praveen Maharaj, has two sons at different FET colleges in Durban.
“My eldest son, at Coastal College FET, has still not received his N5 exam results. The exams started on March 25 and ended on April 9.”
He said his youngest son, at Umbilo FET College, had received two of his N2 results; the other two - Industrial Electronics and Electrical Trade Theory - are still outstanding at colleges countrywide.
When contacted for comment, FET institutions referred the Daily News to statements issued by the department regarding the exam leaks.
According to a source, the leaking of exam papers was a huge problem at FET level, and because the department could not control the situation, colleges bore the brunt of the anger from parents and students.
“It’s a national problem. Students are given the option to enrol to the next level while awaiting results but there’s no guarantee they’ve passed,” he said. “With these late results every trimester, students are disadvantaged. There are reportedly no statements of results issued or certificates received and, when they do receive statements, there is an irregularity.
“Why punish students of colleges that are not listed as having been implicated in the paper leakages?”
The source said students who wrote N3 Mechanotechnology and N2 Industrial Electronics in 2011 had still not received results.
“Without these results they can’t write trade tests.”
Umalusi, the quality assurer responsible for monitoring these exams, said they were aware of outstanding results.
“The department is best placed to indicate the reasons why marks may still be outstanding. Umalusi has considered the reports from the DHET and has approved the release of the results, except where the department has indicated evidence of irregularities.
“Umalusi is concerned with the leakage of question papers, especially with regard to the college examinations, and has raised this matter with the DHET. Umalusi is responsible for monitoring all aspects of the examination, however, it is the responsibility of the DHET to ensure the security of question papers as it is responsible for the management, conduct and administration of the exams.”
Annelie Lotriet, the DA’s spokeswoman on higher education and training, said the department had established a task team to look into leaks.
“The minister has centralised all the FET colleges under the national department. The question is whether they have the capacity to deal with all the different colleges.”