Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

University student blows lid off leaked matric exams

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Nov 19, 2020

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Cape Town - An ongoing investigation by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) that has revealed eight of the nine provinces have been affected by the maths paper 2 leak, will determine whether the rewrite would be national or local.

Initially it appeared only to be Grade 12s from Limpopo and Gauteng who encountered the leaked paper.

According to the department, its spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga received an email at about 1.37am on Monday from a university student in Gauteng who runs an NGO providing support to pupils.

The student had the full exam paper and reported that four pupils were asking to be assisted with answers in a section of the paper, but he refused.

During that day more provinces called and it was established the paper was circulated in WhatsApp groups.

To deal with the leak the department has now developed a three-tiered approach, it said yesterday during a media briefing on the National Senior Certificate exams and outcomes of Council of Education Ministers (CEM) meeting.

According to Rufus Poliah, chief director for national assessment and public, examinations phase one will comprise an investigation team of the South African Qualifications Authority, Umalusi, Universities South Africa and DBE.

“This investigative team will constitute the first tier. They will have to complete their first phase work by November 30. This is so that if a rewrite is necessary it can be done by December 15. Then the second phase (will commence). The objectives of this investigative team will be to establish the extent of the leakage. At this stage we cannot say the leak is national because that would mean every pupil had access to the question paper,” said Poliah.

He said the extent of the leak will establish whether the rewrite must be national or localised.

Poliah said the second phase would be a recommendation to minister Angie Motshekga on how to ensure the exam as a whole was not compromised.

“They also need to establish the source of the leak and the action to be taken. The final objective is to make recommendations for the improvement of the exam system to avoid a recurrence.

“The report on all of this will then be given to minister Motshekga and Umalusi,” said Poliah.

Tier two will involve the intervention of the Hawks to get the source of the leak, while tier three will be longterm, when a team of forensic experts to do a full audit on all nine provinces to check for the weakness.

The Grade 12 exams started on November 5 and will end on December 15.

“The 2020 academic year will go down as the most challenging, complex and unpredictable.

“This examination is the largest yet with 1 058 699 candidates. The exam is taking place in 8 200 exam centres in all provinces, with 80 000 invigilators.

“Two hundred and sixteen question papers are being written with more than 10 million scripts printed,” Motshekga said.

She said initially Covid-19 was a challenge, with cases continuing to affect the exams, but collaboration with the Department of Health had helped to allow those infected to write the examination.

The Eastern Cape was leading with 53 candidates, followed by Free State with 23, and the Western Cape with 7.

National senior certificate candidates who test positive for Covid-19 will also be given the opportunity to write exams from their homes if there are no quarantine facilities nearby, provided there are no disruptions and it will also be under strict supervision.

Cape Times

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