Matric Cheating! Who are we fooling?

2014-12-31 22:59

Zareef Minty : Matric Cheating

On November 25, the education department said matric results would be published in newspapers with only pupils' ID and exam numbers. The decision was made after a task team recommended that the practice of publishing pupils' names should be reviewed after the high rate of suicides in previous years.

This is definitely a step in the right direction. The stress that comes from the public knowing your results puts unnecessary pressure on our learners to save face. Hundreds of students commit suicide every year, not from failing matric but due to the fact that millions of people know that too. I completed my matric in 2011, what stood out for me was that from Grade 11 onwards all I could think about was what would happen if I didn’t perform as well as I wanted to? What would people say? Would they think that I was incompetent?  Would they think that I am stupid and silly?

With the IEB results released just yesterday, all the attention is now on the government schools where learners are eagerly awaiting their results. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is scheduled to announce the national and provincial results on Monday evening, while individual candidates in KZN will be able to collect their results from their schools from 8am on Tuesday.

However the matric results of pupils at 39 KwaZulu-Natal schools and 19 in the Eastern Cape have been red-flagged for “group copying” and teachers who may have colluded with the cheating will face “drastic measures”. The disclosure by exam quality assurer, uMalusi, comes just three months after thousands of adult matric candidates had their results withheld for alleged cheating.

These learners and teachers should be held accountable for their actions. We cannot be allowing such a lack of ethics and moral behaviour but I strongly believe that this is an endemic in the school system from lower grades where students and teachers find it effortless to simply assist students way beyond a reasonably fair teacher or fellow student would just so that students perform better in a particular teachers subject.

I guess we can now understand why there is such a high rate of university drop outs, we are not allowing our students to gain the knowledge that they need to take the next step to higher education. By giving our students their matric certificates on a silver platter with a few A’s on the side we are pushing them up just so that they can nose dive into a big black hole.

Having 39 KwaZulu-Natal schools and 19 in the Eastern Cape is quite a large ratio of centres that had these inconsistencies. Even a ratio of 2% is high taking into consideration that these examinations and the results thereof play a huge role in the success and failure of our education system and the budget allocated towards education annually. uMalusi council chairman, Professor John Volmink, said the new irregularities did not affect the integrity or credibility of the exams as a whole, because they were just 2 % of the total exam centres.

We need to hold the provincial government officials, the school officials and the students involved with the allegations accountable for bringing a since of embarrassment and shame to our country. I hope to see pictures of all the teachers and principals involved in the matric cheating in the news. We need to create a stronger moral compass, where students who identify other students or teachers cheating can and should notify a higher power so that those students and any teachers that are accessories to the crime should go through some form of an unlawful screening and if found guilty should get the boot.

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