20 hours community service for matriculant who threw exam papers down the toilet

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(PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES).
(PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES).

Matric exams are underway and many students are stressed, but one Grade 12 pupil from Nsongeni Secondary School in Isipingo, KwaZulu-Natal, let stress get the better of her on the day of the isiZulu Paper one exam.

The matric learner, whose name cannot be disclosed, was in the exam venue with her classmates as papers were being handed out when she got up, grabbed some of the question papers and stormed out of the exam room, Isolezwe reports.

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According to the school’s principal, Sabelo Ngcobo, the learner threw 16 exam question papers down the pit latrine just outside the school hall where they were writing their exams.

“After she threw the papers down the toilet she ran off and she could not be located for hours,” he says. “When we finally located her she explained that she has been stressed out and is under a lot of pressure, which caused her to act irrationally,” he tells Drum.

The incident was reported to the department of education and additional question papers were requested. “This matter inconvenienced everyone involved as we had to wait for more papers which caused the learners to write their exams later in the day,” Ngcobo added.

He also stated that plans were underway to hold workshops which would give individuals insight on healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress and that action will be taken against the student. “As a school we understand that a lot of our learners are unable to cope with exam stress but it does not justify acts that compromise other people’s livelihoods so the learner will be punished accordingly.”

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The student has not been banned from writing her exams, but she has been ordered to write the rest of her papers in a separate venue from her peers.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for education Kwazi Mshengu says that no action has been taken against the pupil yet and that learners should try not to put unnecessary pressure on themselves. “The school has to determine the appropriate punishment for the learner where they will have to complete 20 hours of community service once they have completed their exams,” he says. 

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