A Cape Town matric pupil has slammed the Department of Basic Education’s decision to force over 390 000 matric pupils to rewrite the maths and physical science exams on December 15 and 17 after the papers were leaked.
Elia Bordin of Milnerton High School and a member of the Western Cape Provincial Representative Council of Learners Forum addressed his letter to authorities in the Western Cape Department of Education, MEC Debbie Schafer, and the Department of Basic Education, Minister Angie Motshekga and the director-general Hubert Mweli.
In his letter, Bordin says it is unfair to force 391 000 pupils to rewrite because just under 200 pupils had sight of an exam that leaked.
“While we are all very aware of the great speed at which things can be spread on social media platforms, there is no practical proof that any such spread has occurred, as we are told that investigations into the leaks are long and difficult.
“It is, however, hugely unjust and totally unfair to use this as an excuse to place nearly 400 000 students under this stressful and uncomfortable condition, while the Hawks official investigation has so far been able to reveal that less than 0,05% of mathematics pupils are factually implicated in this leak.
“This decision is therefore discriminatory to all effects, as few guilty individuals are defining what the vast majority of those in their same group (Grade 12s) must collectively abide by, because of something they have not done,” he said.
Bordin said the department had to take responsibility for failing to prevent the examination leaks.
“These measures would need to be guaranteed both inside and outside the department itself, through to the printing contractors and the delivery couriers.
“Given that the leak has reached an infinitesimal minority of the pupils who are now forced by the department to rewrite the papers, it is a widespread expectation that the department should do no less than profusely apologise to the innocent NSC candidates, as well as to their parents/guardians, for the massive inconveniences caused,” he said.
Bordin said he had received correspondence from the WCED, who told him it was for the national office in Pretoria to respond as they had taken the decision.
“At this point, many candidates are not only disappointed by the actual leaks themselves, but they also feel betrayed by the department’s disenfranchisement of the pupils and their mental well-being, as well as the total disregard of the consequences that the department·s own shortcomings have generated to the families of the innocent students.
Meanwhile, Umalusi chief executive Dr Mafu Rakometsi said the integrity of the maths paper 2 and the physical science paper 2 exams had been compromised and rewriting was in the pupils best interest.
“Because the papers were leaked on social media, which is WhatsApp, we were not able to say what the full extent of the leak has been. Social media has many tentacles and it is not possible to determine the boundaries of how far these papers might have gone. Do you wait until the marking happens? And if you find during marking that there is a compromise of the paper, what do you do? It’s too late. It’s impossible to call all the learners to rewrite then,” Rakometsi said.
Mweli said three organisations had hauled the department to court over the decision to rewrite the exams.