Limpopo delays finals as poor schools scramble to copy exam papers

2015-11-03 15:25

Some Grade 10 and 11 final exam papers in Limpopo were photocopied in public copy shops because the department could only afford to provide one or just a few original exam papers for each school and subject written.

Realising the burden on schools and other challenges, the department was forced to reconsider this method while principals scrambled around to make copies of the final examination common question papers, which were set at provincial level.

To allow itself time to make enough copies for all pupils, the department this morning announced the postponement of some examinations.

Government online news agency SAnews reported this morning that departmental spokesperson Naledzani Rasila told them the “decision to postpone the examinations for some of the subjects was taken by the department to reduce the workload on learners”.

Rasila sent out a press statement proclaiming that “examinations across the province proceeded smoothly as scheduled without any untoward incidents and disruptions”.

When asked by City Press why the exams had been postponed, he referred to the reasons in this article.

A number of principals whose schools were struggling financially shared stories about how they had to run around trying to photocopy exam papers.

Some had gone to ask for assistance from neighbouring schools while others ran to nearby copy shops and this led to serious delays to the starting time of examinations.

Teachers’ union Sadtu said it also “compromised the integrity of the examination”.

“Once you give a school one copy, principals with no other means may run to the nearest copying shop and one copy may be left behind and fall in the wrong hands. If not properly managed this may compromise the integrity of the examinations,” said Sadtu Limpopo secretary Matome Raphasha.

“We had to step in and stop the department from this practice and get them to agree to postpone examinations to allow them to prepare for printing of all papers. Until they are able to print a paper for each learner we can’t have exams which are becoming a headache for schools that are also busy with Grade 12 examinations.”

Raphasha said the department was told in advance that schools would not be able to handle the printing or photocopying of exam papers but the department went on to issue a limited number. Raphasha said the department said it did not have money for printing.

Rasila said there could have been confusion. He said schools were initially informed that they had a choice of writing the common papers and they could have them set at district or cluster level.

Raphasha said while such a circular was sent, the department later sent out timetables indicating the dates on which the exams would be written.

“We had to go back to them when our fears were confirmed with schools struggling to make own copies and resolved on postponement of some papers to allow them to make enough copies,” he said.

One principal in Vhembe district said he was shocked when he went to collect the exam papers last Friday. He was given just few copies and was asked to make copies for pupils.

“We’re one of the struggling schools financially and making copies for more than 400 exam candidates was a big struggle. I went again today. I was told that papers were not ready and that they would be written in the afternoon and that the afternoon paper had also been moved,” he said.

The department announced the following postponements today:

» English first additional language paper 1 for grade 11 pupils was scheduled for today but has been rescheduled to November 6. The rest of the subjects set for the morning session will now be written in the afternoon.

» The subjects scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday for both Grades 10 and 11 have been postponed and an assessment instruction will be sent to all schools today.
Read more on:    sadtu  |  limpopo

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