Department vows to challenge court ruling on cheaters
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