Cape Town-151016-Groote Schuur High School matriculants signed pledges today committing to abide by all examination rules and regulations and also committing not to cheat during the final matric external examinations. In pic are, Tristan Makka, 18, Austin Lee Jacobs, 19 and Tashreeq Abdurahman, 18-Reporter-Ilse, Photographer, Tracey Adams

Cape Town - Tech-savvy matric candidates who plan to use the latest gadgets to help them cheat in the final exams should think twice.

The Western Cape Education Department has warned that during their training sessions all exam invigilators had been made aware of the latest advances in technology and how pupils could use these as a means to cheat.

“This includes the use of smartwatches,” said Brian Schreuder, the department’s deputy director-general for curriculum and assessment management.

In the past, candidates have been caught cheating using devices including cellphones and earphones.

Last week, Education MEC Debbie Schäfer warned that pupils caught cheating could face serious consequences such as being banned from writing the National Senior Certificate exams for up to three years. The results of a candidate found with crib notes or carrying any electronic devices can be declared null and void.

“When the candidate’s results are declared null and void, the result for the specific subject is marked as irregular but the candidate will receive results for the other subjects as well as a letter informing the candidate about the irregularity that occurred and the sanction imposed.

“The candidate will not receive a National Senior Certificate until she/he re-writes the subject and applies for a combination of results.”

On Friday, matric candidates across the province signed a voluntary pledge committing themselves to the rules and regulations of the exams.

Earlier this year, an investigation by the Education Department found that more than 40 candidates from an independent school in Athlone participated and were aided in copying in nine exam papers during the 2014 matric exams.

Twenty-one matric candidates’ (from other schools) results were also declared null and void after they breached the rules of the exams. In January, the Department of Basic Education announced that more than 5 000 candidates were being investigated for alleged irregularities, including mass copying, during the exams.

KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape were the provinces worst affected.

In June, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced improved measures to help eradicate exam irregularities.

This included setting up hotlines where candidates or teachers could report irregularities as well as a national training manual for exam invigilators.

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Cape Argus

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