The decision to have matrics rewrite two National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams may be overturned, should an urgent court interdict be successful.
On Friday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that due to the Maths Paper 2 and Physical Science 2 being leaked, pupils throughout the country will need to rewrite them. The first national rewrite in South African history.
The decision did not sit well with teacher unions National Professional Teacher’s Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) and South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), with Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke saying they would be filing an urgent court interdict to reverse the decision on Monday.
Maluleke said while they were consulted and expressed their views, the examination quality assurance body Umalusi made a different decision in the end.
“The Minister called a meeting today and the unions said there is no basis for a national rewrite, based on the initial investigation. Because the number of pupils (implicated) was a few and it did not warrant that all pupils must be punished,” Maluleke said.
He added that after the meeting there was a consensus, “then Umalusi met on their own and made their own decision which they took to the minister.”
Maluleke said to punish pupils in a year fraught with Covid-19 was not fair.
“We are working on the (court) papers now to reverse the decision. It has no legal basis. The investigation shows that there was no major cheating and those that cheated will show up in the marking process. We want to serve the papers to the court on Monday, we are just putting together some affidavits form pupils.”
Executive director for Naptosa, Basil Manuel, said they were briefed by the minister and Umalusi, and they were concerned.
“We were told about Umalusi’s misgivings and integrity of the examination. However, Naptosa remains concerned. We still don’t believe that the few could possibly punish almost 400 000 children. We believe that there was a better way to have done it and think this is punishment for a lot of innocent children, teachers and the system. We certainly have misgivings even though we hear the concerns about the integrity of the examination etc. however, we do believe it was a bit of overkill,” he said.
Matric pupils have been left frustrated and upset by the news that they will have to rewrite Maths Paper 2 and Physical Science 2.
Zoë Prinsloo, a Grade 12 pupil at Edgemead High School said: “I’m very frustrated and upset by the news. What was supposed to be the best year in our schooling careers has turned out to be the worst. From online classes and extra classes to losing pretty much everything that makes a matric year so special. And now to rewrite Maths and Physics because some people can’t show respect and abide by the law. This is completely unacceptable.”
Anekin Pockpass, a Grade 12 pupil at The Settlers High School said: “Not that I didn’t expect it but there was a bit of hope that I wouldn’t have to. It saddens me that the arrival of my holiday has been pushed back and another week shorter than initially planned. I just hope this time the Department of Basic Education has the correct measure in place for this not to happen again.”
Ashleigh Hondoyachepa, a Grade 12 pupil at the Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology said: “We all thought that we were done with Physical Science and Maths. Some of our books were even long gone to be recycled. For me, rewriting Maths is filled with mixed emotions. On one hand I feel like I can do much better than what I did and on the other hand it means I have to carry this burden again. As for Physical Science I felt strong about the paper and so did most of us and to rewrite it feels like we have to carry that worry again and pressure and wonder how we are going to do it all over again,” he said.
Head of Department for the Western Cape Education Department, Brian Schreuder said they understood that the move would cause disappointment and would impact on the plans of some of our candidates, but appealed for understanding.
“These are exceptional circumstances and are ultimately in the interest of fairness to all candidates and the credibility of these examinations. There can be no traces of doubt in the integrity of the National Senior Certificate when the results are released. We know that this will also impact some principals and staff who must manage the arrangements at the examination centres, as well as on parents and candidates who may have to adjust holiday plans. This examination is so important that we know they will make the necessary arrangements to accommodate this development,” he said.
DA spokesperson on education, Nomsa Marchesi said it was unfortunate that all matrics now had to suffer the consequences of the poor decisions made by a few.
“The lessons learnt from the initial leaks should not be repeated again in the rewrite and we trust that these leaks will serve as a wake-up call for the Department of Basic Education to strengthen security as it relates to matric exams in future. The DA calls on law enforcement agencies to ensure that the investigations into these leaks are completed promptly to ensure that all those implicated and found guilty are held to account,” she said.
Motshekga said “the credibility of the NSC examination is of paramount importance. Any lingering doubt relating to the credibility of the NSC examinations must be thoroughly investigated and addressed. Avoiding prior access to the question paper is what all security measures are directed towards.”
Maths Paper 2 will be written on December 15 at 2 pm and Physical Science Paper 2 will be written on December 17 at 9 am.