This morning South African schools opened their doors to learners in order to begin the 2021 academic year. While it is the start of the tough year ahead for all parties, there is still the significant matter of the 2020 Matric exam results to consider, which should be detailed in full by this time next week.
While learners wait to find out how they performed at the end of a chaotic school year, the Matric exams themselves were not without controversy. This as two examination papers were leaked online – Mathematics and Physical Science Papers 2.
Thankfully students avoided a rewrite, and on Sunday, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) held a briefing to unpack the findings of the National Investigations Task Team (NITT), which looked into the matter.
The NITT has confirmed that the exam results have not been compromised, which is good to know considering the results are expected to made available come 22nd February.
“There has been no compromise to the integrity of the 2020 combined examination as a whole and the integrity of the Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Science Paper 2 has not compromised the overall results,” noted NITT chairperson, Hugh Amoore, during the briefing.
He added that the investigation process looked at marking, as well as conducting interviews and statistical analysis. According to Amoore, the purpose of the investigation was to establish the extent of the leaks, and their source.
Rather damningly, the audit of the leak found that one of the sources of the leaks was in fact Government’s Printing Works, which has since prompted greater scrutiny of the situation.
“It is of the utmost importance that the case against the person accused of stealing from one of the province’s processes be pursued to the conclusion and the investigation into the leak related to the Government Printing Works be finalised and the process be purposed to conclude,” said Amoore.
Also, the department worryingly discovered that as many as 236 candidates were involved in the distribution of the leaked Mathematics paper via WhatsApp, with 62 having access to the Physical Science.
While the numbers remain small given that more than one million learners sat down for last year’s Matric exams, the fact that these leaks were capable of happening in the first place still raises concern’s of the department’s ability to handle such a crucial period for young learners.
When the exam results are released next week, it will indeed prove interesting to see what the performance is compared to previous years, with COVID-19 and its consequent disruptions, playing a pivotal part.
[Image – CC BY-ND 2.0 GovernmentZA on Flickr]