NSC CRUNCH TIME
Free State matrics caught with crib notes, phones in examination centres
A probe into these ‘serious irregularities’ will ensue, say education authorities.
Crib notes, phones in exam centres, persistent rain, protests and a car crash.
These were among the hiccups reported as matrics began the third week of the finals exams which, Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga reported, have otherwise been progressing well.
Without naming the affected provinces, Mhlanga told Daily Maverick the incidents had been reported and logged, and a decision will be made at a later stage about what happens to the implicated pupils.
Mhlanga added: “There are no worrying incidents except from the threatening adverse conditions, but nothing has happened yet to concern us.”
Read more in Daily Maverick: How does the class of 2022 stack up? We compare the matric results to previous years
The adverse conditions included persistent rain and community protests in some parts of North West.
“It’s been resolved now,” he said.
‘We caught them’
While the Free State too reported that the exams were going well, provincial education spokesperson Howard Ndaba said four cases of serious irregularities had been reported.
“Two candidates were found in possession of cellphones in the exam rooms and two candidates were found in possession of crib notes.”
“Investigations related to the above cases are ongoing and once concluded, the implicated candidates will be subjected to formal hearings,” he said.
Ndaba added that the “conduct, administration and management of exams is going well”.
“Our examination sessions are being monitored to support and ensure compliance in our examination centres.”
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One candidate, Ndaba said, was involved in an accident on the way to an exam centre.
It had not yet been established whether the pupil was ready to continue writing the exams. A medical report from the doctor would be taken into consideration and the candidate would automatically be registered for the 2024 May/June exams.
The 2023 matrics began their exams on 30 October with the English First Additional Language paper one (P1) and paper two (P2) and other optional languages.
According to a department report tabled before the parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education on 19 September 2023, 723,971 full-time and 129,064 part-time candidates nationally are registered to write at 6,800 exam centres.
This year’s registered candidates, the report read, had decreased from 753,964 in 2022.
The Free State obtained an 88.5% matric pass rate last year, followed by Gauteng (84.4%) and KwaZulu-Natal (83.0%).
The report said 35,642 full-time candidates and 7,594 part-time candidates are registered for this year’s exams. DM