Tomorrow, 8th December, was planned to be a day of minor celebration for South African students as it would mark a week until the end of the 2020 Matric exams. Now with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) announcing rewrites, the exams will continue until 17th December.
These rewrites are for Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Science Paper 2. Both of these exams were leaked ahead of being written by students, leading to an undetermined amount of people having an advantaged when it comes to performance.
The DBE has stated in the past that these leaks happened just hours before the official start time of the exams. In terms of just how many people had access to the leaked exams beforehand, the DBE has basically given up on providing the public any kind of reasonable number.
When speaking of a preliminary report of the matter put together by various governmental bodies, the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, had this to say:
“Some of the key findings are that the viral spread of information on the cyber networks made it virtually impossible to accurately identify the number of learners that have had access to the leaked question papers.”
This lack of detail regarding the spread of the leaked papers has, together with other factors, lead many Matric students and their support systems to express their frustration about the rewrites. With 2020 already being one of the most difficult years in education due to the pandemic and South African lockdowns, rewrites on top of these are salt in the wounds.
Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Science Paper 2 are not the only exams which will experience “rewrites”, however. CAT and IT will similarly be written again, albeit under different circumstances.
These subjects will receive a second chance to be written due to technical difficulties. Both CAT and IT are subjects, which require the use of a computer for their exams to be written, and certain school experienced problems which prevented students from completing their exams or starting altogether.
These affected schools and their students will be given another chance to write the exams, and will not be the same national rewrite like Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Science Paper 2.
The new dates for these four exams are provided by the DBE below. It should be noted that CAT and IT are listed together as one student cannot take both.
Below are the dates for rewriting Mathematics Paper 2, Physical Science P2, as well as CAT and IT pic.twitter.com/tEPBLbvj2j
— Dep. Basic Education (@DBE_SA) December 4, 2020