Heads must roll over matric paper - DA

2012-11-11 16:03

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Mbombela - The Mpumalanga education department has assured that a printing error in the province's Geometry paper will not disadvantage matriculants who wrote the paper.

A circle was left off a graph in Question 6 of the second Maths paper, which was written on Tuesday.

"This matter ... will be dealt with during the memorandum discussions and at no stage will the learners be prejudiced by this omission,” said provincial department spokesperson Jasper Zwane on Friday.

The national department of basic education has undertaken to circulate an explanatory memo to moderators and markers to ensure pupils aren't prejudiced.

But Democratic Alliance's spokesman on education, James Masango, says a memorandum is not enough.

He says those who made the mistake must account for their actions.

"The fact is that the provincial department made a hash of printing the question papers, and quite simply, heads must roll,” he said.

 “The error in the paper resulted in learners battling to make sense of what could only be a nonsensical question, wasting precious time and ruining learners’ concentration for the rest of the exam.”

Masango questioned the fact-checking protocols within the department.

“That the officials in charge were negligent goes without saying, and they have to be held accountable,” he said.

Meanwhile, during an executive council meeting in Mbombela on Tuesday, Education MEC Reginah Mhaule failed to mention the Geometry paper error when she gave a brief status update about the exams.

Instead, she said exams had been going smoothly.

“Since learners started writing their exams on 22 October 2012 everything is running smooth[ly],” she indicated.

The DA has cautioned Mhaule not to “only embark on a public relations exercises".

Dodgy track record

Mpumalanga has a dodgy track record when it comes to matric exams.

Exam-related crises go back to 1998, when Premier David Mabuza was education MEC. His department was accused of inflating that year's results by 20% - from 52% to 72%.

This came after a pass rate of 47% the previous year.

In 2004, matric results were withheld because of irregularities and, in 2008, more than 9 000 pupils in the province did not receive their results on time because the department had failed to submit their results to the national department for capturing.

In 2009, matric exams were marred by the leaking of several papers.

In November 2010, local police arrested 13 people, including an education official, a teacher, a prison official, 10 pupils and a worker at Clicks, in connection with leaking exam materials ahead of the exams; this led to a decision by the national education department to take control of the matric exams in the province.
 
Read more on:    da  |  reginah mhaule  |  david mabuza  |  mbombela  |  education  |  matric
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