Matric exams: Council to abide by 'no rewrite' ruling, but pokes holes in judgment

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A class writing matric exams.
A class writing matric exams.
Kayleen Morgan
  • The Council of Education Ministers has taken issue with some aspects of a High Court judgment that scrapped the rewriting of two leaked matric exam papers.
  • The council said it would go to court to seek correction of some matters but would abide by the major ruling not to rewrite.
  • The case was brought before the court by the SA Democratic Teachers' Union and lobby group AfriForum.

The Council of Education Ministers (CEM) has said it would approach the court to "rectify" some aspects in the High Court judgment that halted the rewriting of two leaked matric papers.

In a statement released on Saturday, the council said it noted a "number of aspects in the judgment that cannot be left unchallenged". 

"After consulting broadly and extensively with lawyers, the court will be approached to correct those identified aspects of the judgment," it added.

On Friday, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria set aside the decision that matric pupils should rewrite the Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Science Paper 2 exams after they were leaked in November.

ALSO READ | Motshekga was never authorised to make matrics rewrite exams, court finds

Responding to the ruling, the CEM said the court did not properly address the "credibility, integrity and fairness" of the 2020 matric examination, adding another concern was Judge Norman Davis' "tone and language" while delivering the judgment on Friday.

"Some of the findings of the court are discordant with applicable basic education legislative provisions and some findings were made against the department on issues that were not even raised in the court papers. CEM was particularly concerned about the tone and language used by the honourable judge."

Nonetheless, the CEM said, it had decided the two papers would not be rewritten.


"The class of 2020, their teachers and their parents should take solace in CEM's decision that the Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Science Paper 2 will not be rewritten on 15 and 17 December 2020," Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said in the statement.

"Enjoy your Christmas and New Year's break, rest and recharge for 2021 … but you must observe all Covid-19 health, safety and social distancing protocols at all times."

The SA Democratic Teachers' Union and lobby group AfriForum approached the High Court seeking the reversal of the decision by Motshekga that matric pupils would have to rewrite the two papers on 15 and 17 December, respectively. 

A number of pupils were against the decision, with some taking to social media to complain. 

They said a rewrite was unfair for those who studied hard and did not cheat. Others said they had already left and gone on holiday.

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