ID numbers published instead of names: how it affects matriculants

By Drum Digital
05 January 2015

Seeing one’s name in the newspaper can instill a sense of pride if you’ve passed or public shame if you’ve failed.

For years South African families have woken up early in the morning and dashed off to buy their local newspaper to scan the names of their children who wrote matric examinations the previous year.

But one thing is for certain, everyone who knows you - from friends to family - will have something to say about you once the information is out there.

On the 25 November 2014, the Council of Education Ministers announced that this year’s matric results will only show the pupils’ ID number or exam number without displaying names,

a cause that the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) has been fighting for years.

“For many years it has been our call not to publish names in the newspapers because matric results are private. They should be treated with confidentiality as with the publishing the results of someone’s HIV/Aids status,” says Zama Khanyase, Deputy Secretary-General at COSAS.

Zama believes that while the old method of publishing names caused a great deal of unnecessary stress and pressure, the new method is equally problematic.

“We have attended many funerals of learners who committed suicide because their failures have been made public,” she says.  “However this new method is putting minors at risk by making their ID numbers accessible to the public.”

She believes it will provide an opportunity for criminals to access and use children’s ID numbers fraudulently. “The Department of Education is being careless. Learners must fetch their results from school and we must respect their privacy,” she adds.

Later today, the Department of Education will release the latest matric results at press briefing and within 24 hours newspapers will follow suite and publish the ID numbers and exam numbers for all of South Africa to see.  Today, the concern on many young matriculants’ minds is not how the results are published, but whether they passed.

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