Act decisively on cheating pupils
THE RECENT court ruling ordering the Department of Basic Education to release the results of two Limpopo schools accused of cheating in their maths 2 paper last year is a serious indictment of the department’s inability to deal effectively with group cheating in schools.
Authorities stated that there was evidence the paper was circulated among some pupils at the two schools prior to their taking the exam. However, the pupils were still allowed to continue with the exams. When the department withheld their results, saying they were still investigating the alleged cheating, the pupils and their parents approached the court to order the release of the results of other subjects not linked to the cheating scandal.
It is of concern that pupils are not given a strong message about cheating and the consequences they will face should they do so. When some KwaZulu-Natal matriculants were implicated in a cheating scandal in 2014, the department said it would impose a three-year ban on the guilty ones.
However, nothing happened because the department said it could not trace some of the pupils and teachers involved in the scandal. Some pupils who were identified by the department refused to attend the hearings on the matter despite being ordered to by the courts. Some of those pupils rewrote their exams, and life continues for them.
This then begs the question: What measures will the department put in place to ensure that it nips group cheating in the bud? The department needs to find better ways of dealing with this matter so that there are no loopholes that will result in the justice system overruling it.
It is sad that some pupils put so much effort into their exams and those who cheat are not punished. These cheating scandals will further dent the image of South African education.