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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

COSAS, Sadtu Heads To Court To Block Basic Education From Forcing All Learners To Rewrite Leaked Exams

NYAKALLO TEFU

THE South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), and the Congress of the South African Students (COSAS), are heading to court to challenge the decision by the Department of Basic Education to force matriculants to rewrite their leaked exams.

COSAS spokesperson Douglas Ngobeni said the student organization was currently working with Sadtu to challenge the decision to rewrite exams.

“We are getting our papers ready together with SADTU to take DBE to court. There were delays on Monday because we needed learners to give us memorandums to hand over to the court. It is an urgent application and should be heard by tomorrow (Tuesday),” said Ngobeni.

“The Department of Basic Education must take responsibility and see how they deal with the mess. Learners who sat and wrote the papers had concluded that they were finished and some have travelled back home, and now they must come back to write because of a leaked paper.”

Ngobeni said the decision to rewrite was irrational and called on pupils to boycott it. 

“Learners must heed our call. When we say that learners must boycott, we are also assisting them to boycott. Our ground forces will be at school gates to make sure rewrites don’t happen,” said Ngobeni.

Sadtu General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke said the decision has left many learners and teachers distraught and frustrated.

“It undermines the work of our teachers and learners who worked under difficult circumstances due to COVID-19. Learners are being punished for something that is not of their making as only a few saw the paper,” Maluleke said.

NAPTOSA president Basil Manuel said the union supported the view that Basic Education’s decision was ‘irrational’.

“We don’t believe that you can punish the sheer number of learners because of 195 learners. We don’t believe that the DBE has done enough to stand up to the threats of Umalusi, because when Umalusi threatens not to endorse because they believe that the papers may have been compromised, we have to be clear and say prove it and show that the entire exam has been compromised,” said Manuel.

“But Umalusi is being treated as if it is beyond question and making mistakes. They must be held accountable because they cannot be allowed to put our children in such a stressful situation based on very poor evidence.”

Speaking to a local radio station on Monday, Umalusi CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi said the decision [to have the papers rewritten] was not premature.

“We do not know the extent of the damage in terms of the learners who have had access to the paper,” said Rakometsi.

“Learners who are going to do well in this examination are going to be mocked, as learners who might have been assisted with having had access to the paper before it was written.”

The Hawks have arrested one person in connection with the leaked Maths Paper 2 exam.

A 31-year old man-Themba Daniel Shikwambana- appeared before the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on 31 November and is out on bail of R1000 for the leakage.

According to the Hawks, Shikwambana is working for a Johannesburg-based company contracted by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to print this year’s Grade 12 examination paper.

(SOURCE: INSIDE EDUCATION)

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