No matric results withheld

2009-03-24 00:00

In the March 3 editorial, “Costly delays”, reference was made with regards to delays in the release of the 2008 National Senior Certificate (NSC) results. To say 17 000 candidates did not receive their results in the December publication is fallacious to say the least. Yes, there were candidates in KwaZulu-Natal who did not receive their results in December due to irregularities.

The number of such cases (irregularities) affected only 887 candidates, as at December 31. This figure does not even come close to the 17 000 mentioned in the editorial. It is simply not true. The 887 candidates had their results outstanding for specific subjects due to irregularities. One also needs to bear in mind that in KwaZulu-Natal there were 156 341 candidates who had registered to write the National Senior Certificate Examination for 2008, but 136 796 candidates actually wrote the examination. This means there was a group of 15 545 candidates who did register for the exam but failed to show up to write.

The Department of Education issued a statement early in January refuting claims that 17 000 results were withheld. It is unfortunate that this blatant lie is constantly being repeated. There is not a single candidate in KwaZulu-Natal who is facing a bleak future because he or she has not received last year’s NSC results.

Irregularity cases were categorised into three groupings.

• Group one: allegations of group cheating.

• Group two: crib-note cases. These are candidates who were found with crib notes at examination centres or crib notes were found in their scripts at marking.

• Group three: Technical irregularities. These are candidates who wrote subjects for which they did not register, such as mathematical literacy instead of mathematics. Under this group there were also candidates who did not write their examination numbers on their scripts. There were also candidates who failed to produce proof that they had registered to write an exam but demanded to write regardless.

All irregularity cases had to be investigated thoroughly and this included collating statements from candidates, and interviewing candidates and invigilators.

There were 25 cases involving crib notes. After the investigation, 22 candidates were sanctioned as follows: their results in the subjects copied were declared null and void, and they will not be allowed to write examinations for a period of one year, which means that they may write in 2010.

Three of these cases were not relevant to the subjects (e.g. life sciences crib notes found when the pupil was writing physical sciences).

A total of 550 candidates were involved in group copying or organised copying.

A total of 256 candidates were found guilty of copying. Their results in the subjects copied were declared null and void, and they will not be allowed to write examinations for a period of one year. This means that they may write in 2010.

A total of 394 candidates’ results were released because there was not enough evidence that they were involved in copying.

All irregularity cases were dealt with and finalised by January 31. All candidates in KwaZulu-Natal had received their results by February 5. Reports that there were 17 000 candidates who did not get their results are devoid of all truth, misleading and malicious.

• Mbali Thusi is manager: media and citizen liaison for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education.

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