Tight control and management of remaining exam papers for Grade 12 learners will be implemented in the province following the leakage of the Life Sciences paper on Monday.
Department of Basic Education (DBE) Minister Angie Motshekga called a press conference in Polokwane on Tuesday to inform the media about the leakage of the exam paper.
An investigative task team comprising the Department of Basic Education (DBE), the South African Qualifications Authority (Saqa), the University South Africa (previously Higher Education South Africa) and Umalusi, the quality assurance council, has been established to investigate examination irregularities in Limpopo.
The DBE was informed Monday at 06:00 of a possible leakage of the Life Sciences paper and the later verified that it was the official paper to be written that day. The paper had been delivered to the Marude Secondary School in the Ngudi circuit in Vhembe on Friday.
The task team must establish the source of the leak, the spread of the access to the question paper, to make recommendation on the credibility of the examination in the district and how such a breach can be prevented in future. The report from the task team will be handed to the Minister and to Umalusi.
The task team will be augmented by an oversight team to guard the integrity of the remaining question papers in the province that are still to be written and ensure all examination processes during the next six weeks are tightly controlled and managed.
Additional officers will also be deployed from the DBE to augment the total of 30 DBE officers already deployed in the province. These officials will focus specifically on the locale of the alleged leakage and will, with other monitors, cover every district and circuit office in the province. To ensure that the compromise is limited and does not contaminate the rest of the examination in the district and province, the scripts of the candidates that did not have access to the question paper can be isolated from those that are implicated.
The South African Police as well as the State Security Agency are to be assisting in the investigation so perpetrators could be prosecuted. According to Motshekga an adult was involved and this person would probably lose his or her job, pension and end up in jail. At this stage (Tuesday) two learners were identified as to have had access to the question paper before the exam was written.
As for the learners identified, they could be prohibited for three years to write their matric examinations. Learners at the identified school could possibly all be asked to rewrite the exam, or learners in the district or even the province could be asked to rewrite the exam, depending on what the investigation uncovers on how wide-spread the leakage was Investigations will also be done to check if previously written papers were also compromised.
During Umalusi’s verification of Limpopo’s capacity to manage and administer the examinations, serious reservations were expressed in a letter to the DBE about Limpopo’s state of readiness to administer the National Senior certificate. Issues were raised with regards to storage facilities, the laissez-faire attitude of examinations staff since October 2015, a detailed audit as to marker appointments was done and a total of 26 monitors were deployed to the province from DBE’s chief directorate National assessments and public examinations and also part time monitors.
Story: NELIE ERASMUS
Photo: Education MEC Ishmaele Kgetjepe and Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.