It's a concern that some matric pupils are not able to write exams due to protest action - Umalusi

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Umalusi expressed concern regarding matrics unable to write examinations.
Umalusi expressed concern regarding matrics unable to write examinations.
  • Umalusi expressed concern regarding protest action which hindered some pupils' matric examinations.
  • More than 700 000 pupils sat for the National Senior Certificate exams more than a week ago.
  • Umalusi commended the basic education department for making arrangements for the affected candidates.

Umalusi, the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, expressed concern with regard to recent protests in some parts of the country. 

The protests resulted in some pupils either missing the National Senior Certificate examination or writing it later than initially scheduled. 

More than a week ago, 755 981 full-time Grade 12 candidates sat for the exams across all provinces - an increase of 22 783 candidates.

Over 1 000 matric pupils in Mpumalanga could not write their Maths papers due to electricity protests which erupted in Emalahleni on Monday.

In a statement on Saturday, Umalusi said the province's candidates were prevented from accessing their examination centres.

In the North West, arrangements had to be made for approximately 460 candidates to be compensated for time lost.

READ | Over 1 000 Mpumalanga matric pupils miss maths exam due to violent electricity protests

In Gauteng, just over 50 candidates could not write due to community protests.

"Umalusi wishes to reiterate its position that it discourages communities from using national examinations as leverage for their protest action.

"While Umalusi respects the constitutional right of every citizen to protest, candidates should also be allowed to exercise their right to education by writing the examinations without any form of hindrance," said spokesperson Biki Lepota.

Concerns regarding the alleged problematic questions in the Maths Paper 2, administered by the basic education department, are also of concern, Umalusi said.

"The standard procedure for dealing with such issues is the marking guidelines or memoranda standardisation meetings during which problematic questions are moderated in consideration of candidates' answers. Depending on the magnitude of the problem, the marks allocated to the question/s may be excluded from the question paper's total marks or that alternative responses may be accepted.

"The external moderators of Umalusi attend these meetings and take responsibility for signing off the final marking guidelines after considering the responses of candidates and the deliberations. The fine-grained details of how the concerns were dealt with would be submitted for the consideration of Umalusi at the end of the marking process," the statement said.

READ | Matric exams: Western Cape education department probes 14 reports involving cellphones, crib notes

The South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute's (SACAI) premature release of two question papers on 11 November to Umalusi is also of concern.

These are the Physical Sciences Paper 2 and Life Sciences Paper 1, which are scheduled to be written on 14 November and 18 November.

"It is a requirement for assessment bodies to submit question papers to Umalusi after the writing of each paper, so that Umalusi can perform its post-examination quality assurance processes prior to the standardisation of results.

"Instead of releasing Paper 1 of Physical Sciences, which was written on 11 November, the SACAI erroneously released Paper 2, which is scheduled to be written on 14 November.

"Since the erroneous release of question papers has the potential to put the credibility of the examination at risk, the SACAI has withdrawn the papers released in error and will substitute them with back-up question papers. Umalusi urges all the assessment bodies and stakeholders to do everything possible to ensure that the integrity of the 2022 national examinations is not compromised," said Lepota. 

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