File picture: Armand Hough/ANA

Cape Town - The matric exams take centre stage this week, with exam paper integrity once again in sharp focus.
Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer stressed the importance of “a smooth exam schedule”.

During the examinations matric pupils are monitored by invigilators who have been trained to identify any infringements. Schäfer said there were severe penalties for those thinking of cheating, including being banned from writing exams for up to three years.

Gillian Mooney, dean of academic development and support at The Independent Institute of Education, said every year she encountered many stories of matriculants who have violated exam conditions.

“We hear about scores of matriculants whose results are held back, who face criminal charges, who are banned from writing NSC exams for years and who spend ages in court as a result of cheating,” said Mooney.

This will be the second year that the smart locking solution system will be used. The system was piloted at 91 schools in 2016 with two further districts making use of the system this year. The system, which works remotely via satellite, controls access to the the exam papers by tracking the keys that school principals use to unlock the container holding the exam papers.

“The system tracks every step of the process and signals an alarm if it detects any deviation from the scheduled process. The advantage of the GPS-based system is that the WCED can respond to alarms in real time, in addition to standard checks that form part of each step in the process of managing the examinations,” said Schäfer.

Weekend Argus