Scheduled exam rewrites set aside

Matriculants who sat for the leaked Maths 2 and Physics 2 exams will not have to rewrite them.

Earlier this month, it emerged that the question papers for the Maths 2 and Physics 2 exams had been leaked. Minister for Basic Education Angie Motshekga then announced that the two exams would be invalidated and that all matriculants who took them would have to rewrite them later this month. Gauteng High Court Judge Norman Davis has now put the kibosh on this. His ruling makes clear that the rewrite decision was both procedurally and substantively unfair.

After the rewrite decision was announced, four matriculants approached AfriForum, asking them to challenge this as they felt they would be harmed. AfriForum was joined by the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and other interested parties, including other matriculants. The Responding Parties were Minister Motshekga, the National Examinations Irregularities Committee (NEIC), and quality control body Umalusi. Also listed as respondents were the 9 provincial MECs for Education.

At the core of the Case was the question of how widespread the leaks were. Umalusi claimed (without proof) that the leaks were widespread and thus it wouldn’t recognise the results. The applicants argued that this was merely speculation, and Davis agreed. In fact, fewer than 200 students have been implicated in the Maths exam leak (around 1 in 2,000), and 60 in the Physics exam leak. As Davis said:

Even if the extent of the leakage is a hundredfold of that already identified, the question is still whether a 6% compromise would result in a non-certification. Umalusi has not even considered this or at least not done so on the papers.

All the papers have to be marked. In addition, the papers have to be kept safe and not destroyed pending any appeals by the respondents. Motshekga and the Department of Basic Education have been ordered to pay costs.

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