JONATHAN JANSEN | That’s all well and good, but a rewrite won’t answer these questions

We cannot move on from this matric crisis so quickly. Basic education must come up with a number of concrete solutions ... and tell us about them

09 December 2020 - 19:36

Make no mistake, the leaking of two national senior certificate (NSC) papers in two gateway subjects (mathematics P2 and physical sciences P2), as well as the life sciences paper, has had devastating effects up and down the system. It has called into question the management capacity of the department of basic education, responsible for this high stakes examination. It has damaged the credibility of the NSC examination itself. And it has demoralised and deflated the 391,000 candidates who must rewrite the mathematics paper and the 282,000 who must show up again for the physical sciences paper. Think for a moment of the tremendous burden on children with emotional and intellectual disabilities having to raise themselves again to rewrite these stolen papers.

This leak is nothing short of a catastrophe and yet we move so quickly from “problem found” (the Hawks arrested Themba Daniel Shikwambana, who worked for the exam printing company) to “solution offered” (rewrite). That is not good enough. We need to ask tough questions of the authority endowed with the responsibility for managing and overseeing this critical examination in the lives of more than a million youth...

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