Integrity of 2020 matric exams in question after third paper allegedly leaked
Durban - THE integrity of the 2020 matric examinations has again been called into question after reports of another alleged exam paper leak surfaced yesterday.
A PDF and screen grabs of WhatsApp messages that appear to be of the Physics Paper 2 exam were posted on Twitter on Monday, but later removed.
Candidates across the country sat for the three-hour paper on chemistry yesterday.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) said in a statement last night that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) held an urgent meeting yesterday to consider the implications of the latest developments.
It said this followed reports that the Physical Sciences Paper 2 had been leaked and circulated before the commencement of the examination.
It added that the reported leak of Physics Paper 2 had come after the department asked the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (the Hawks), to investigate an earlier incident involving Maths Paper 2 last week.
“The investigations are at an advanced stage and details on the progress of the probe will be made public at the right time while areas of possible weakness have been identified,” the statement said.
The department said it had dispatched teams to provinces to re-check the security systems.
The CEM said it was concerned that the leaks were causing disruptions to a system which already experienced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is unfortunate that people continue to be involved in something like this even though the consequences can be dire. We condemn in the strongest terms the conduct of persons who undermine the integrity of the examination because it causes untold stress on the learners who are looking forward to exiting the schooling system with a pass from an honest examination, not one associated with cheating,” said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.
The CEM said it had considered several options that are meant to further protect the exams but for security reasons these would not be divulged.
“We want to reassure the public that we are hard at work to ensure that we protect the examinations. The Hawks have been helpful in working with us and they are encouraging developments coming from their side,” said Motshekga.
Last week the KZN Department of Education confirmed that an investigation had been launched into allegations that schools on the South Coast had access to Maths Paper 1 before the exam was written on November 12.
Prior to this, Motshekga confirmed that the Maths Paper 2 exam had been leaked in eight provinces, but not the Free State.
Unions met with the department at the weekend for an update on the matric exams.
Cynthia Barnes, the general secretary of the National Teachers Union, said the department was still investigating the alleged Maths Paper 1 leak.
Regarding Maths Paper 2, Barnes said a task team had been sent out to verify and investigate how the paper was leaked.
National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa) KZN chief executive Thirona Moodley said if the Grade 12 Physics paper 2 leak was confirmed, it would be really disappointing.
“Naptosa is concerned that following a really good run of Grade 12 examinations the DBE has become vulnerable to unscrupulous persons involved in the leaking of papers,” she said.
Moodley said the situation was troublesome as it left pupils with great uncertainty as to what the department would decide regarding a rewrite of the affected exams.
She said this would definitely affect their morale.