Depart­ment vows to chal­lenge court rul­ing on cheaters

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

THE DEPART­MENT of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion (DBE) will ap­peal the Tho­hoyan­dou High Court’s rul­ing that the Limpopo Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment must re­lease the ma­tric re­sults of 172 school pupils im­pli­cated in a cheat­ing scan­dal.

“The ef­fects of the judgment are that the DBE and Limpopo Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment are forced to re­lease the re­sults of the im­pli­cated learn­ers from New Era Col­lege in Mala­mulele,” the DBE said yes­ter­day.

“We are launch­ing an ap­peal with im­me­di­ate ef­fect in the in­ter­est of pro­tect­ing qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and the in­tegrity of our ex­am­i­na­tion sys­tem. We are gravely con­cerned about court de­ci­sions which un­der­mine our ef­forts to pro­vide qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion to learn­ers.

“The pub­lic can be as­sured that we do ev­ery thing in our power and within the am­bit of our con­sti­tu­tion and laws to pro­tect qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and the in­tegrity of our ex­am­i­na­tion sys­tem,” the depart­ment said.

The Coun­cil for Qual­ity As­sur­ance in General and Fur­ther Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing, Umalusi, had in­structed the depart­ment to with­hold the re­sults of pupils at New Era Col­lege pend­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Hawks and the depart­ment’s own in­ter­nal pro­cesses.

“New Era is an in­de­pen­dent school owned by Tinyiko El­phas Khosa, the ac­cused in the mat­ter in­volv­ing the leak­ing of maths paper 2 in Giyani. Learn­ers at his school took the depart­ment and Umalusi to court, de­mand­ing the re­lease of their re­sults.

“We are dis­ap­pointed be­cause there is ev­i­dence in­di­cat­ing that there was wrong­do­ing and a per­son was ar­rested on the mat­ter. There is also ev­i­dence that shows learn­ers had ac­cess to the ex­am­i­na­tion ques­tion paper be­fore it was writ­ten. This judgment is com­pro­mis­ing our ex­am­i­na­tions and, as a re­sult, we will ad­vise the province and Umalusi to ap­peal,” the depart­ment said.

The court ruled late on Satur­day that the re­sults be made avail­able within 72 hours.

The par­ents of the pupils re­port­edly ar­gued that the depart­ment was prej­u­dic­ing their chil­dren. They wanted the re­sults of other sub­jects, which were not part of the cheat­ing al­le­ga­tions, to be re­leased.

The depart­ment said the judgment had the po­ten­tial of send­ing the wrong mes­sage – that you could cheat on ex­ams and then go to court to force the depart­ment to hand over re­sults, even though you might be guilty.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the work done by the Hawks thus far and we are con­fi­dent that their in­ves­ti­ga­tion will help us root out the cor­rup­tion that has a risk of tar­nish­ing the cred­i­bil­ity of the ex­am­i­na­tions.”

The depart­ment said it had to be made clear that those who cheated in ex­ams would be dealt with harshly. The depart­ment would ex­plore all pos­si­bil­i­ties to pro­tect the in­tegrity, im­age and pro­file of the Na­tional Se­nior Cer­tifi­cate.

The depart­ment and its stake­hold­ers would also re­view the poli­cies and reg­u­la­tions that gov­erned the management of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in or­der to strengthen the ex­ams sys­tem, the state­ment said. – ANA

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