The Department of Basic Education are scrambling to assess the damage after yet another matric exam paper was leaked on Tuesday 24 November, and have pledged to do better to ensure that the integrity of the examination process is not impacted irreparably by this year’s errors.
The Council of Education Ministers (CEM) held an urgent meeting this afternoon to consider the implications of the latest developments, and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, The Hawks, are continuing their investigation into the circumstances surrounding the initial leak of the maths paper 2 exam last week.
Investigations underway into matric exam leaks
With the leak of the Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Science question papers, serious questions are being asked of the Education Department, and Minister Angie Motshekga’s – ability to ensure that the process is conducted without incident so as to allow students to participate in honest examinations.
The department said on Tuesday afternoon that investigations are at an “advanced stage” and that details on the progress of the probe will be made public “at the right time while areas of possible areas weakness have been identified”.
“In addition to this, the Department has also dispatched teams to provinces to re-check the security systems,” they said. “The CEM expressed concern that the leaks were causing disruptions to a system which already experienced challenges due to COVID-19.”
The department said that several options that are meant to further protect the matric exams are being considered but for security reasons these would not be divulged.
‘Dire consequences’ warning not heeded
Motshekga said that the latest leak is audacious considering the warning she issued last week that anyone found to e responsible would face “dire consequences” including students facing a three year ban from writing the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams, and employees in the system possibly being jailed.
“It is unfortunate that people continue to be involved in something like this even though the consequences can be dire,” she said.
”We condemn in the strongest terms the conduct of persons who undermine the integrity of the examination because it causes untold stress on the learners who are looking forward to exiting the schooling system with a pass from an honest examination, not one associated with cheating.”
Integrity of exams ‘must be protected’
Motshekga assured the public that they are “hard at work to ensure that they protect the examinations”.
“The Hawks have been helpful in working with us and they are encouraging developments coming from their side,” she said.
“The DBE and provinces are continuing to work around the clock to implement the new measures that have been activated to protect the on-going examinations and also to hunt down the culprits.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) have said that the blunder has caused severe damage that demands introspection and improvement.
“This latest leak is damaging and has proven that the department has failed to uphold and protect the integrity of this year’s examination which has already been tarnished in controversy,” said DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education Nomsa Marchesi.
“The Department of Basic Education (DBE) must tell the Committee how this leak happened and what steps are being taken to hold to account the perpetrators of this act. They must also tell us where these leaks originated from and the steps they have put in place to mend the cracks within the DBE, which have created a fertile ground for these leaks to happen in an unrelenting fashion,” she said.
“We expected the Department to have tighter security measures in place to prevent further leaks from happening, especially in light of the recent and widely publicised leak of the Mathematics Matric exam paper.”