Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the more than 1 000 Grade 12s found to have cheated during the 2022 exams were barred from writing three examinations.
“Learners found guilty of engaging in irregular practices to obtain an unfair advantage during the writing of the examination have been sanctioned for a maximum period and are prohibited from writing the next three examinations.
“They will only be allowed to write the November 2024 examination, once the sanction period has expired,” Motshekga said.
She was responding to parliamentary questions from IFP MP Siphosethu Ngcobo about the findings of the investigation conducted by her department into allegations of cheating in the national senior certificate examinations which involved 1 189 matriculants from six provinces.
It was reported earlier this year by quality assurance body Umalusi that cheating was reported in different centres that administered exams for private and public school pupils in 2022.
There were instances where pupils were assisted during the exam, with at least two cases reported in the Eastern Cape, four in KwaZulu-Natal and two in North West.
Group copying was reported at five centres in the Eastern Cape; one centre in the Free State; two centres in Gauteng, two centres in KwaZulu-Natal and 58 centres in Mpumalanga in a WhatsApp group.
In her written response, Motshekga said the affected learners either colluded with each other or were supported by their teachers in obtaining answers to certain questions in the question paper while the examination was in progress.
She said the national department in conjunction with the provincial department conducted an extensive investigation of all learners that were alleged to be implicated in the irregular practice.
This included a detailed investigative analysis of the learner’s scripts.
Motshekga said every implicated learner was given an opportunity to present their version of events to an independent presiding officer in the presence of their parents or guardian or supported by a legal representative.
“The decision of the independent presiding officer was presented to the Provincial Examinations Irregularities Committee (PEIC), a committee appointed by the head of department to ensure that due process is followed in the management of all the irregularities.
“The recommendations from the PEIC were then reviewed by the National Examinations Irregularities Committee (NEIC), a committee established by the minister to ensure fairness and uniformity in the handling of these irregularities.
“The final decision relating to these candidates was presented to Umalusi, the Quality Assurance Council, for ratification.”
Motshekga also said candidates were found guilty of cheating in specific subjects.
“The results in those subjects were declared null and void and the candidates received the results of subjects that were not tarnished by any examination irregularity,” she said.