Matric farce in Mpumalanga

A ministerial report has found that every one of last year’s matric ­exam papers was leaked in Mpumalanga, making exams in the province not worth the paper they were written on.

The report, dated December 21 2009, was leaked to City Press this week. It says it is difficult to tell how widespread the leakages were, with some question papers suspected to have been “accessed as early as August last year”.

“It is evident that the leakage of question papers in the Mpumalanga province was not limited to the five papers (maths papers 1 and 2; physical science papers 1 and 2 and accounting) that were replaced,” states the report.

The report says doubts about the validity of the exams were raised after computers confiscated from “persons in Barberton” were found to contain all of the matric question papers.

Nine people were arrested, including Bheki Zwane, a typist in the Mpumalanga exam directorate. Zwane allegedly supplied the exam question papers using a memory stick, the report says.

The report adds that another of the nine people arrested, known only as “Joe”, stated that he (Joe) was selling exam material for ­between R150 and R200 and had already made R2 500.

The report also states that:

» Two learners in Barberton were found with an Afrikaans home language question paper;

» A learner related to the previous director of exams in the Mpumalanga education department was found throwing a business studies exam paper into a bin at Lowveld High School.

The report also says breaches had occurred at the exam premises and that the computer used by the chief education specialist, B Naidoo, contained all the exam papers but was unsecured.

“It was in sleep mode and the press of any button would activate it again. Further, the computer was in a venue accessible to any official of the unit, irrespective of rank,” the report says.

However, basic education department spokesperson Granville Whittle says the province’s results are still credible because (educational standards watchdog) Umalusi had “conducted a ­thorough investigation”.

“There was great dissatisfaction at the time, but once Umalusi was satisfied after conducting thorough investigations we were allowed to release the results.”

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