Awol teacher told her to mark matric cooking exam
Teacher leaves cleaner to mark matric cooking exam
A consumer studies teacher has resigned from an Ekurhuleni high school after he got a school cleaner to invigilate and mark a matric practical exam — while he took pupils to a soccer match.
Last month the cleaner found herself tasting dishes prepared by matric pupils at Benoni High School in Gauteng, and allocating marks to them.
Eight pupils had to redo their final practical exam after their parents complained to the school about the unusual arrangement.
The dishes included quiche, lasagne, spaghetti bolognaise, Swiss roll, chocolate éclairs and pumpkin fritters. She awarded marks out of 10 for appearance, taste and texture.
Marks were allocated separately for interpretation of the recipe, use of equipment, effective time use and neatness of work stations.
The cleaner, who identified herself only as Lucia, declined to comment this week. But a teacher at the school said the woman had told him she had been surprised when consumer studies teacher Neil Senneck asked her “to watch over” the class, taste the dishes they made and award marks.
“She was surprised because she had been cleaning the kitchen for five years and no teacher had asked her to do that,” the teacher said.
“She initially thought he was asking her to take charge of his class for a short while because he was going to see the headmaster, but she ended up staying for the full three-hour duration of the practical.
“She said she regretted what she did because it got her into trouble. The principal told her she must refuse if anybody asks her to do something,” the teacher said.
He said Lucia had awarded two pupils six out of 10 — the highest mark she gave — for their spaghetti bolognaise because “it tasted fine”. Lucia told the teacher she was familiar with preparing spaghetti bolognaise and pumpkin fritters as she made them at home.
“She gave a mark of four for the pumpkin fritters because there was too much cinnamon and it was not cooked inside.”
The mark for September’s practical, as well as for another practical completed earlier in the year, comprised 25% of the final mark for consumer studies.
Another teacher at the school said: “What Mr Senneck did was fraudulent and totally unethical. It’s grossly unacceptable because this is going to affect their final mark.”
A parent of one of the pupils called Senneck’s actions “bizarre”.
“It’s an absolute disgrace. The children were very upset because some scored a high mark during the practical when the cleaner was present, while they scored a lower mark after they did it the second time.”
Senneck, who was also a soccer coach at the school, used to lecture at the school of tourism and hospitality at the University of Johannesburg. He joined Benoni High last year. He did not respond to calls and an SMS this week.
Danie van Rensburg, a spokesman for the school’s governing body, said the governing body and the school management were aware of the incident and that “immediate remedial action was taken”.
He said: “As the matter is being investigated, we are unable to make any comments at this early stage.” Gauteng education department spokesman Steve Mabona said the department was concerned about the allegations.
“Unfortunately, investigations could not be concluded as the said educator has since resigned. We strongly condemn such educator misconduct,” Mabona said.