Matric exam rewrite: Sadtu to challenge Motshekga's 'unfair, premature' decision in court

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  • Sadtu, the largest teachers' union in the country, has threatened legal action against the Department of Basic Education and Umalusi.
  • The threat follows a decision by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to have Grade 12 pupils rewrite two leaked exam papers.
  • The union says Motshekga had consulted them and they voiced their views that this move would be premature and unfair, as investigations into the matter had not been concluded.

The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) says it is taking legal action against a decision by the Department of Basic Education, and quality assurance education body Umalusi, to have Grade 12 learners rewrite two leaked papers.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Friday that Mathematics Paper 2 would be rewritten on Tuesday 15 December, and Physical Science Paper 2 on Thursday 17 December.

"Sadtu will, on Monday, file an urgent court application to interdict the department's decision," it said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement continued: 

The Department of Basic Education consulted with the unions and Sadtu and the majority of unions made their views known that they were against the decision and consensus was reached. However, Umalusi did not agree and the decision to rewrite was taken.

Sadtu, the largest teachers' union in the country, said it believed the decision was unfair and premature, because investigations into the leaks had not been concluded.

'Mental health and readiness'

"Based on the initial investigation, which has shown that the number of learners who may have seen the paper are less than 200 out of the 390 000 who wrote the paper, there is no basis for a national rewrite.

Sadtu said: 

Preparing for the 2020 matric examinations was not easy under the Covid-19 conditions and the learners' mental health and readiness for rewrite is a big issue.

Sadtu general-secretary Mugwena Maluleke said the decision had left many pupils and teachers distraught and frustrated.

"It undermines the work of our teachers and learners who worked under difficult circumstances due to Covid-19. Learners are being punished for something that is not of their making, as only a few saw the paper," Maluleke said.

City Press reported that a legal firm representing a group of matrics was also threatening to bring an urgent interdict to prevent the rewrite.

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