DURBAN - The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) turned out to be the missing link in the historical battle against the publicising of matric results.
On Tuesday, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said matric results would not be published in the media because it was against the POPIA, much to the delight and acceptance of the Congress of South African Students (Cosas), National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB) and the KwaZulu-Natal Parents Association, who welcomed the announcement.
Cosas national spokesperson Douglas Ngobeni said they had been urging the department to take this decision for years.
“We were one of the first groups who publicly called on the government about this back in the day when the results were still published with names, identity documents and examination numbers.The department knew and acknowledged back then that this was wrong. Yet, they continued using pupils' identity documents and examination numbers and only removed names. From grade R to grade 11, pupils write their exams alone. What was the significance of releasing their last exams results in the first place?” Ngobeni said.
“We are delighted that this has come to an end. We are also glad that in the process, a relationship between printing companies and the department, which has caused harm to a number of families, the lives of their children, while they make profits out of their failure, has been broken.”
NASGB general-secretary Matakanye Matakanye said this was a historical issue that resulted in campaigns against it.
“We agreed that when the names are published, the children commit suicide. Then this time, it’s no more a question of whether we agree or disagree. It’s a law. The POPIA is a law that says personal information must be protected against anyone. So, they are applying the law now,” Matakanye said.
He added: “Whether you passed or failed, particularly those who failed, you did not fail, you did not do well in other areas, so try again,” Matakanye said.
He also urged parents to be supportive, whether children passed or failed, and not judge the children who failed. Instead, they must encourage them to try again.
KZN Parents Association chairperson Vee Gani said, previously when pupils did not see their results in the media, they assumed they failed and depression and trauma set in. Sometimes, it was an omission on the side of the newspaper or the media.
“I think it’s very good. They did it a little bit in the past when you could get your results by an SMS. I think in some way, trying to protect the information that was given out,” Gani said.
“But, now with the POPIA that has been enforced, they are saying they will not put that information out there.”
“I think it’s the right thing to do. Your results are your personal thing, and those who did not perform well don’t want others to know,” he concluded.