Head guilty of breaking exam rules

2010-11-02 00:00

THE Department of Education’s claims of a hard-line stance against cheaters during this matric exam season were recently put to the test when a school principal of a KwaMashu school was caught with six questions papers outside the exam venue. This was while the exam was underway. One of the question papers was found in his office with answers on it.

The principal of J.E. Ndlovu Secondary School has been suspended as chief invigilator but not as principal after exam monitors, on a routine visit to monitor the security plan in schools, detected irregularities.

Department spokesperson Mbali Thusi said upon arrival, the examiners had found 14 candidates sitting for their History Paper 1 examination on Wednesday.

However, the principal had collected 20 question papers from the department’s collection point, which did not tally with the number of writers.

When the principal was asked to hand over the extra copies to the monitors, however, it was discovered that the question papers were not in the exam room. He then only handed over five question papers. When he was interrogated further, he later produced an extra question paper found in his office, with answers on it.

“The rule is you are not allowed to have question papers outside an exam room while writing is underway because what happens if a neighbouring school starts its exam five minutes late?”

Thusi said it was possible that the question paper with the answers on it had been into the exam room before the exam. This is why exam specialists will look at the 14 scripts for organised copying. According to Thusi, in a meeting with district officers and other senior provincial exam officials, the principal acknowledged that he knew that he was not allowed to take question papers outside the exam venue while the exam was underway, let alone provide answers to it.

“He subsequently confessed to an irregular act in terms of the policy.”

The department has taken over the administration of the examination at the school, but the principal will continue performing his duties as principal. “We will continue to apply zero tolerance to such misconduct … And this must send a strong warning to everyone that we will deal harshly with any individuals found guilty of committing an irregular act,” said Thusi.

It is not clear when the principal will not know his fate.

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