IN QUOTES | Motshekga on matric exam leak: 'We'll only rewrite if the integrity of the exam is in jeopardy'

19 November 2020 - 10:10 By cebelihle bhengu
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Basic education minister Angie Motshekga.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga.
Image: Cebisile Mbonani

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga says her department is disappointed and embarrassed by the recent leak of the matric maths paper two exam question paper, and hopes the examinations will proceed without any further leaks.

The minister was briefing the media on Wednesday about the action being taken by the department in response to the leak. The Hawks have been roped in to help establish the source of the leak in which pupils from eight of the nine provinces have been implicated.

Motshekga emphasised that the leakage of the exam paper is a criminal act and that implicated individuals will be held accountable. She said that should the investigation implicate some pupils, they will be held accountable on the basis of a code of conduct they sign before writing the exams.

Here are five telling quotes from the minister's address:

Exam paper leak

“The paper was leaked on Monday. We can confirm without any doubt that the paper was leaked. That's why we have given a very elaborate report about what we have done and what the processes are, because among other things that we want to do is to make sure that we come out and be transparent. But also find a way of allaying the fears and anxieties of parents and learners around the paper that was leaked.”

A rewrite is the last resort

“That would be the most desperate and last option. We will only do a rewrite if we feel the integrity of the exam is in jeopardy, because we can't compromise it. We want to protect all the other learners that were not part of this WhatsApp group. We are also looking at the time because the person who got access to the paper could have had it overnight, others said they got it at 7am. With forensics, we have to have a sense of whether a maths paper at 7am has any material impact on their knowledge.” 

Source of paper leak unknown

“We don't know the source. It could be the printers. Until we know the source, we're not going to be able to say where the cancer is. That's what we are looking for, and that's what the investigation is all about. MEC Lesufi said one of the learners who came to them said he got it from a friend who works at the printers, so we still have to investigate.”

Harsh penalty for implicated pupils

“The penalty of offences relating to exams are very serious. It really hurts me when adults put children in those difficult situations, because children are not printers and they're not in the system, but half the time they are the ones who suffer most. There are learners who have not been able to resolve their lives because the penalties are too hard for young people.”

Biggest exam

“We are operating 8,200 exam centres in different provinces and we had to engage almost 80,000 invigilators to help us to manage the environment. In total we have 216 question papers that have to be written across different subjects.”

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