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Pupils look to court for results

By Kamini Padayachee Time of article published Apr 21, 2015

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Durban - As dozens of 2014 matric pupils remain in limbo after their results were withheld because of a cheating scandal, pupils from a North Coast school implicated in “group copying” are not backing down from their fight to get their results.

The 139 pupils, from the 2014 matric class at Mashiyamahle High School in Ndwedwe brought an application in the Durban High Court to force the Education Department to release their results.

The pupils’ attorney, Jay Surju, told The Mercury on Monday that they wanted access to exam scripts in which the department alleged there was evidence of cheating, and a notice had been served on the department requesting that they be allowed to inspect the scripts and be provided with copies.

In their application, the pupils said they had been accused of cheating, but the education authorities had no evidence against them.

They insisted that they had done nothing wrong and that the withholding of their results was unlawful and had put their lives on hold.

In an answering affidavit, Rufus Poliah, a chief director in the department, said evidence of “group copying” had been found in an audit of exam papers for subjects including maths, accounting, physical science and life sciences at the school.

Poliah said the pupils would use the wrong formula or principle, but get the correct answer.

An audit of exam papers, which was attached to Poliah’s affidavit, alleged that cheating took place in a question in maths paper two where 52 pupils out of a class of 62 got the same incorrect answer.

Surju said in a letter to the State Attorney, which The Mercury has seen, that the scripts which the department had referred to in its answering affidavit were required to establish that the allegations in the department’s affidavit were “contrived, not true” and did not justify the department’s contentions.

The letter also said that an invitation to discuss the matter at “settlement discussions” had not been answered.

“Your clients are, in our clients’ view, simply litigious,” the letter stated.

The Education Department has said disciplinary hearings on the cheating allegations would be held this month.

In a document attached to court papers, the department said the hearings, in which pupils would be allowed to testify and have legal representation, were placed on hold to give the pupils an opportunity to write supplementary exams.

If the pupils chose not to attend the hearings, they could make admission-of-guilt declarations and their results from the 2014 examinations would be scrapped with no further action being taken.

The department would then release their results from the supplementary exams written this year.

The Mercury

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