South Africa, Durban – The SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa), have come out in support of the Department of Basic Education’s full audit aimed at ensuring that no more matric exam papers are leaked.
Two matric papers, Mathematics paper 2 and Physical Science Paper 2, were leaked hours before they were written last month. The department had planned to enforce a rewrite of the two subjects by all matric pupils, but the decision was set aside by the Pretoria High Court a week ago.
Responding to a written parliamentary question, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said her department had embarked on a process to ensure that similar incidents involving leaked exam papers did not reoccur.
“In terms of ensuring that this does not happen again, the department has started with an audit of the entire value chain from the origination of question papers to the delivery of question papers to examination centres,” she said.
Motshekga said the purpose of the audit was to establish the weak points and double security at all points in the system. She said the department would also appoint an independent investigator to conduct a comprehensive audit of the entire examination system.
She said this would include the Information Technology systems that are used to evaluate what new technologies can be utilised in future years to improve and modernise the examination system.
Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said Sadtu believed that all was done to ensure that exams had the integrity they deserved.
“The process of having a paper in front of pupils is a complex and sensitive one, so it is important to audit and screen all employees that are invited. If done properly, future leaks can be prevented,” said Caluza.
Naptosa said it was upsetting to the pupils, parents and teachers when the decision to rewrite was made, but fortunately, through the intervention of the court, this was not to be.
Naptosa spokesperson Thirona Moodley said however as unfortunate this was, it would have been a waste if no lessons were learnt from this situation.
“It is imperative that the department and law enforcement investigate thoroughly not only the weakness in the system that caused the leaks this year but also other potential threats in the system,” said Moodley.
She said National Senior Certificate exams must never be tainted and the integrity of the exams must be protected.
“The department as the examination authority must take responsibility and ensure that the events of this year are never to be repeated. It must explore and invest in technology that assists in this regard,” said Moodley.
Investigations by the department with the assistance of the Hawks had established that the leak was much wider and all the provinces, except for the Free State, had reported the paper leaks.
The department was able to access about 71 cellphone numbers used in the WhatsApp group that circulated the paper.