File Picture Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).
File Picture Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).

Matric results approval marred by paper leakages

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Feb 16, 2021

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Durban - THE class of 2020 breathed a sigh of relief when Umalusi, the quality control council, approved the release of the 2020 national exam results on Monday.

This was despite Covid-19 challenges, the leakage of two exam papers and isolated irregularities.

The results of the Independent Examinations Board (IEB), South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI), Benchmark Assessment Agency , Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Department of Higher Education and Training assessment bodies were submitted to Umalusi for quality assurance and standardisation.

Umalusi chairperson Professor John Volmink said Umalusi approved all the results brought forward by the assessment bodies.

The National Senior Certificate (NSC) was offered by the department, IEB and SACAI.

Volmink said Umalusi was concerned following an extensive investigation by the National Investigation Task Team established by the the department.

“Umalusi is very concerned about the occurrence of these serious irregularities and takes the view that strong action must be taken against those learners and individuals who have made themselves guilty of these acts of dishonesty,” he said.

“Having studied all the evidence presented, the Executive Committee of the Umalusi Council noted the isolated, generally identified irregularities reported during the writing and marking of examinations as well as the group copying cases reported in four provinces involving 893 pupils.”

Volmink added that the investigation into the leakages was not yet complete and would continue until finalised.

Volmink said Umalusi may refuse to issue a certificate if a substantial irregularity has occurred in relation to an external assessment; they may cancel a certificate that has been issued to a pupil if on investigation the council found that the pupil has not met the requirements for the qualification; and may by notice in writing direct a pupil whose certificate has been cancelled to return the certificate to the council within three weeks after such notice.

“This means that Umalusi can still nullify the certificates of candidates who are found guilty of having benefited from the leaking of the two papers even after receiving their results,” said Volmink.

He encouraged all assessment bodies to strengthen their systems and do everything they can to avert the leakage of exam papers in future.

Volmink said a total of 12 024 full-time and 1 139 part-time candidates wrote the NSC exams set and administered by the IEB.

Umalusi chief executive Dr Mafu Rakometsi said the class of 2020 was the seventh Grade 12 cohort to write final exams under the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements.

Covid-19 lockdown regulations had forced assessment bodies to postpone mid-year exams to November. As a result, more pupils wrote national exams.

“In 2020, the Department of Basic Education registered approximately 766 592 full-time, 120 849 part-time candidates, and 168 088 Amended Senior Certificate candidates, with a total of approximately 1 055 529 candidates for the 2020 NSC examination,” said Rakometsi.

That included Amended Senior Certificate pupils.

Rakometsi also expressed his disappointment with the leaking of maths Paper 2 and physical science Paper 2 question papers.

He said it had the potential to compromise the integrity and credibility of the exams.

“As a result, there are serious consequences for those who are found guilty of such criminal activities, regardless of whether they are learners or officials,” said Rakometsi.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will virtually announce the national results for the class of 2020 next Tuesday.

Daily News

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