Worse results, copying, leaked papers mar matric 2015

2015-12-31 11:30
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - The 2015 class of matriculants writing the Department of Basic Education’s National Senior Certificate exams ­performed worse than last year’s class, monitoring body Umalusi said on Wednesday.

And the body has admitted that there were a number of cases of group copying during the department’s ­matric exams in four provinces.

Umalusi Council chairperson ­Professor John Volmink told reporters in Pretoria that a total of 26 alleged ­cases of group copying were reported in Gauteng (6), KwaZulu-Natal (12), Limpopo (1) and Mpumalanga (7).

“This year has seen a number of new schools being implicated in group copying. We also acknowledge the ­significant reduction in the number of ­alleged cases of group copying ­compared to 2014. It is worth noting that detection of these irregularities ­attests to a very functional and vigilant system,” said Volmink.

Results from the affected centres won’t be released as investigations are still ongoing.

“We want to extend a serious ­warning to those who are implicated that drastic measures will be taken against them,” he said.

Volmink said Umalusi was ­concerned about the leakage of exam papers and called for harsher ­punishment for guilty parties. ­Problems were encountered in ­Limpopo, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

The leakage started in Limpopo and spilled into the two other provinces, compromising both Life Sciences ­papers.

“Umalusi is very concerned about this trend and takes the view that strong action must be taken against those ­pupils and officials who have made themselves guilty of these acts of ­dishonesty,” Volmink said.

“Umalusi will therefore not approve the release of the results of all the ­identified culprits in the Vhembe ­District, Gauteng and Mpumalanga. The investigation is still continuing.”

Nineteen candidates in the Vhembe District, three candidates in ­Mpumalanga, and four candidates in Gauteng were implicated in the leakage.

“There are a number of factors that affected this year’s pupil ­performance, which we hope we can correct,” said Volmink.

He said the poorer performance could be due to the high standards of this year’s papers, but they could not compromise on the quality of ­education, he said. “The standard of the papers improved and catered for more challenging questions as ­compared to 2014. The standards of the papers might have contributed to the ­performance, but the standards can’t be dropped just to push up the pass rate,” Volmink said. “Umalusi can’t lower the bar for standards. They can only be ­improved in the classroom.” The results will be released on January 5, 2016.

The Department of Basic Education said it would only comment in January on Umalusi’s announcement.

“We are only releasing the results on the fifth of January so we don’t want to pre-empt any of these ­announcements. We will comment when minister pronounces,” said department spokesperson Troy Martens.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced in January that 28 exam centres in KwaZulu-Natal and 16 in the Eastern Cape would be ­investigated after evidence of group copying was found. Pupils submitted the same answers to questions.

In February, Umalusi CEO Mafu ­Rakometsi said pupils had answers ­dictated to them. He said in one case whoever gave the dictation to pupils said “go ahead” and pupils wrote “go ahead” on their answer sheets.

The 2014 cheating scandal has yet to be fully resolved. — Witness Reporter.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  matric 2015

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