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Thumbs-up for matric class of 2021, Umalusi probes exam irregularities

Matric results for public schools will officially be released on Friday, with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga expected to announce the national results for the class of 2021 during a televised address on Thursday night. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA

Matric results for public schools will officially be released on Friday, with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga expected to announce the national results for the class of 2021 during a televised address on Thursday night. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA

Published Jan 19, 2022

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Cape Town - Quality assurance examination board Umalusi has approved the release of the 2021 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam results, with the council revealing it was investigating incidents of pupils having early access to exam papers before writing them.

Umalusi council chairperson John Volmink said that having studied all the evidence presented, the executive committee of the Umalusi council noted that apart from some examination irregularities identified during the writing and marking of the exams, there were no systemic irregularities reported that compromised the credibility and integrity of the November 2021 NSC examinations as a whole.

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Matric results for public schools will officially be released on Friday, with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga expected to announce the national results for the class of 2021 during a televised address on Thursday night.

The five-week NSC examinations, which began on October 27 last year, were written by 897 786 registered candidates, comprising 735 677 fulltime candidates and 162 109 part-time candidates.

As the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) results are expected to be published today, chief executive Anne Oberholzer said the 2021 NSC pass rate was 98.39%, slightly higher than last year’s pass rate of 98.06%. (See page 3)

Oberholzer said all candidates who passed achieved a pass that was good enough to enter tertiary education at one of the three levels, 89.2% of the cohort achieved entry to degree study, compared to 88.41% in 2020, 7.82% qualified for entry to diploma study, compared to 8.14% in 2020, and 1.37% achieved entry for study at the Higher Certificate level, compared to 1.5% in 2020.

“A total of 12 857 full-time and 968 part-time candidates from 238 examination centres writing in 267 venues across southern Africa wrote the IEB NSC examinations in October and November 2021,” said Oberholzer.

She said this was an increase from 2020, when there were 12 024 full-time candidates and 1 139 part-time candidates, and from 2019 when there were 11 818 full-time candidates and 779 part-time candidates.

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The publication of matric exams on media platforms was drawn into the spotlight after the Department of Basic Education (DBE) made a decision to halt the practice, saying it would violate the Protection of Personal Information Act (Popi Act).

IEB spokesperson Teresa Settas said they had been publishing the NSC results in compliance with the requirements of Popi Act for years.

After the DBE announced last week that matric exam results would no longer be published on media platforms – the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday ruled against the department’s decision.

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This followed an urgent application lodged by AfriForum, Maroela Media, and Anlé Spies – a 2021 matriculant – asking the court to order the DBE to continue with the release of the results on media platforms.

DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the department would abide by the ruling.

“This means that the department will make available the results to stakeholders who requested access. The conditions of the court ruling must be taken into account in line with the provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013,” said Mhlanga.

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SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said it was their view that the ruling and those who brought the matter to court were about protecting the business interests of media houses above those of pupils and parents.

Maluleke said the education system was still heavily laced with glaring inequalities.

“The current cohort of matriculants also had to deal with two years of disrupted learning due to the pandemic,” said Maluleke.

He said it was thus unreasonable in the extreme to expect them to also face the pressure of the negative social implications that come with the mass publication of results.

“Publishing of matric results does not bring any educational benefit to those directly concerned, being our learners. The publishing of the results only brings extra monetary value to the media houses.”

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