Cape Town - With less than two months to go before the matric class of 2014 receive their final results, no decision has been taken on whether their results will be published in major newspapers.
Earlier this year the Cape Argus reported that this tradition could be discontinued after a ministerial task team, established by Education Minister Angie Motshekga, recommended that it “be avoided in the future”.
“The extreme embarrassment of candidates who are not successful and are so publicly revealed as failures has serious consequences and there are cases annually of its leading to self-harm and even suicide,” the ministerial committee on the National Senior Certificate stated in their report.
“This practise should be reviewed, given the unintended harm that it may cause and the modern technological alternatives for communication,” it said.
Last week the SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) indicated it would write to the minister to request her not to halt the publication of the results.
“We believe no scientific correlation has been established between the publication of the results and the alleged adverse effects cited in the recommendation submitted to the minister.
“The release of the matric results remains one of the most important events in the country’s education calendar.
“Publication of the results in newspapers contributes to transparency, excitement and debates. It also helps family members of candidates to access results even when they are far from schools and without digital access.”
The department’s spokesman, Elijah Mhlanga, said a letter from Sanef had been received but the minister had not yet made a decision.
“Both the decision and the response to Sanef will be dealt with on 24 and 25 November 2014 when the minister meets all her MECs.”
In August, Associate Professor Rob Siebörger, from the School of Education at UCT, told the Cape Argus there was “very little positive benefit to the publication of the results in newspapers other than some bragging rights, as what really counts now is not the broad category of pass or symbol, but the way in which results will convert to points for tertiary admission - something which the published lists cannot convey”.
Siebörger said he believed it was important there should still be public access to this information on an official website some weeks after the pupils had been informed of their results.