Matrics have to wait two months to find out if exams were free and fair
Grade 12 pupils will have to wait anxiously until February 15 2021 to hear whether Umalusi will declare the matric exams free and fair.
Senior officials of the basic education department will provide the exams quality assurer with reports on the investigations into the leaked maths paper 2 and physical science paper 2.
Last Friday‚ Pretoria high court judge Norman Davis set aside the department’s directive for a rewrite of the two papers after ruling it was irregular and unlawful.
Reacting to the judgment‚ Umalusi said it cannot pre-empt the outcome of its own processes regarding the approval of the 2020 National Senior Certificate results.
“The council needs to implement all its quality-assurance processes before a final decision about the credibility and integrity of national examinations can be made.”
Before the judgment‚ Umalusi said the integrity and credibility of the two papers had been “irrevocably compromised”.
At a briefing on Thursday‚ basic education minister Angie Motshekga‚ her deputy Makgabo Reginah Mhaule‚ and department director-general Mathanzima Mweli all made reference to Umalusi.
Motshekga said they accepted the rewrite decision “to ease the anxiety [of pupils]”.
“We want to mark; we want to open the year next year. What Umalusi does is the next stage. We will address it there.”
She said during Thursday’s briefing that “normally we are able to see that the paper leaked in this province‚ in this circuit and therefore we can see trends”.
“But here the maths paper‚ that’s why we said it must be rewritten. We don’t have a full sense as to the extent of the leak, so we are not sure which papers to target, but we will try at all costs to really look‚ through our system‚ to make sure we can do that.”
She said the high court judgment “did not help much because it did not deal with the core issue that we had taken to court, which is the credibility‚ integrity and fairness of the 2020 exams”.
Mhaule said when the marking is complete‚ they will write a report based on what was discovered during marking.
“This is submitted to Umalusi, and based on that, Umalusi will decide. [This is] not to say that Umalusi has already given a decision that the results won’t be recognised.”
Mweli said that “unfortunately we cannot second-guess Umalusi”.
“We need to wait for when Umalusi would be pronouncing on the results and we will then hear what Umalusi is going to say.”
He said that besides a printing company from Johannesburg being a source of a leaked paper‚ the second source of the leak was the government printers, which leaked the “full” physical science paper 2.
“This confirms what we said in court, that whilst we have seen some questions from some social media, we believe that the leak was wider than what we thought. The ongoing daily developments seem to confirm what we presented in court.”
Rufus Poliah‚ the department’s chief director of national assessment and public exams‚ told the briefing that after Umalusi approves the results‚ they will then generate more than 1-million individual statements of results for each candidate who wrote the exams.
Motshekga will announce the results on February 22.
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