South Africa, Johannesburg – Umalusi chief executive Dr Mafu Rakometsi said on Tuesday that the integrity of the Maths Paper 2 and the Physical Science Paper 2 exams had been compromised. The Department of Basic Education has ruled that candidates have to rewrite the two subjects after it was found that the exam papers were leaked.
“The reason why we have asked the department to have two papers rewritten is because on December 1 there was a report presented to the executive committee of council by the [Basic Education Department] director-general [Mathanzima Mweli] and his team members on the papers.
“What became evident from that report was that the investigation has not been completed and might not be completed in the near future. How long do we wait? The results have to be released in February.
“Because the papers were leaked on social media, which is WhatsApp, we were not able to say what the full extent of the leak has been. Social media has many tentacles and it is not possible to determine the boundaries of how far these papers might have gone. Do you wait until the marking happens? And if you find during marking that there is a compromise of the paper, what do you do? It’s too late. It’s impossible to call all the learners to rewrite then,” Rakometsi said.
Mweli said so far three organisations are hauling the department to court in an effort to halt the rewrite.
“The court is the final arbiter. If we believe that we acted within the ambit of the law, it’s part of exercising your democratic right to approach the court and say ‘I feel aggrieved’. We are now before the court. AfriForum was the first organisation to take us there. I have counted about three organisations.”
The case between AfriForum and the department will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court on an urgent basis on Wednesday.
Rakometsi said the decision to rewrite was not meant to disadvantage candidates.
“This decision has been taken in the best interest of the learners. We are not punishing these learners, we are protecting them so that the qualification they are carrying next year will have currency. It’ll be respected by universities.”
He said this year’s leaks were different from other years as they have previously been able to quantify the leak.
“In the past the department would be able to give us evidence that this leakage was contained in this particular centre. We would then punish that centre.”
On the issue of the standardisation of the exam marks, Rakometsi said they would use the same system used every year and the effects of Covid-19 on learning would not be taken into account.
There are concerns that some candidates did not have access to online learning when schools were closed in an effort to curb spread of Covid-19.
Even before Covid-19, there was inequality in education in this country. Are we going to correct inequality through standardisation? No,” Rakometsi said.