Matrics will not have to rewrite leaked exam papers, court rules

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  • The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has set aside the decision that matric pupils must rewrite the Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Science Paper 2 exams.
  • The papers were leaked in November on social media, just hours before pupils had to write. 
  • AfriForum and others approached the court to prevent a rewrite. 

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has set aside the decision that matric pupils rewrite the Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Science Paper 2 exams, following them being leaked in November.

Last week, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that the two exams would be rewritten after the papers had been leaked. 

The argument was that the leaks were widespread and, as a result, quality assurer Umalusi said it would not recognise the results of the two papers.

READ | Matric exam rewrites: Education dept 'bullied' into decision, court hears

Several pupils, the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) and AfriForum approached the court to have the decision set aside.

The crux of their arguments was that the decision to rewrite was not taken rationally and was the result of "bullying" tactics by Umalusi, who "speculated" using a preliminary report into the leaks. 

The different applicants argued that the preliminary report into the leaks did not show the extent of the leak, and saying the leaks were widespread was just conjecture because the papers were disseminated using social media.

Judge Norman Davis found that the decision announced by Motshekga was irregular and unlawful and ordered that the decision be set aside. 

Davis further ordered that the exam papers should be marked, as it is the learners' right irrespective of what certifications may be made by Umalusi now or in the future.

The effect of the judgment is that learners do not have to rewrite the exam papers. 

The court further ordered the minister and the department to pay the costs of the applicants as well as the amicus curiae. 

This is a developing story.

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