Tight security means no leaked papers

Umalusi and education department pleased with smooth running of this year’s matric examinations

Tight security measures and system improvements have paid off for the Department of Basic Education‚ with not a single matric question paper leaked this year for the first time in years.

Despite minor incidences of individual irregularities involving pupils‚ examination authority Umalusi is satisfied that there were no systematic irregularities that might have compromised the credibility and integrity of the examinations.

Irregularities were isolated and these had been managed appropriately by blocking results of affected candidates, Umalusi chief executive Dr Mafu Rakometsi said yesterday.

However, Umalusi was running one of the biggest systems in the country and it would be difficult to give the exact number of exam irregularities, he said.

“For us to know individual acts of dishonesty would be difficult, but they are very small.

“We are talking here about learners bringing in script notes. Those would be isolated incidents.

“We are talking here about a learner coming into the examination room with a cellphone and you also get incidents of learners assisting each other. Those are isolated incidents and it is difficult to keep count of those‚” he said.

Giving the results a green light‚ Umalusi council chairman Professor John Volmink said this was on condition the results of the candidates implicated in the examination irregularities be blocked and investigated, and the outcome of the investigations reported to Umalusi.

Department of Basic Education spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said the department was pleased that its interventions in preventing irregularities had paid off.

It had profiled all examination centres and singled out those that had had challenges in the past.

“We put more people there to ensure more monitoring is done, and some lost their licences and were not given statuses of exam centres‚” Mhlanga said.

The department also reduced the time between delivery of question papers and examinations‚ saying that the challenge last year was that question papers would languish in storerooms for about a week‚ which he said gave people opportunity to break into the store and steal or photograph question papers.

“This time we did not give them that opportunity.

“We also got to speak to our officials a lot‚ our [director-general] visited all provinces about three times this year alone to emphasise the point of having quality examinations, and what it does to the moral of our staff and learners because no learner wants a certificate from a year of scandal‚” he said.

A total of 802 636 candidates sat for this year’s NSC‚ set and administered by the basic education department‚ of which 634 527 were full-time and 168 109 part-time candidates.

A total of 58 subjects were presented for standardisation and‚ after moderation‚ raw marks were accepted for 38 subjects.

A total 16 were standardised upwards, while downward moderation was effected on four subjects.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to release the exam results on Thursday next week. – TimesLIVE

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