Matric results may be withheld if rewrite decision is set aside

Umalusi informed the Pretoria excessive court docket on Thursday that it could be unfair to these matric learners who should rewrite two topics that have been leaked to attend till February to study that their results is not going to be accredited. 

The high quality assurer argued {that a} rewrite was the one possibility to make sure the {qualifications} of the learners usually are not “questioned or questionable”, contemplating that the integrity of the 2 leaked papers has been “irrevocably compromised”.

Judge Norman Davis heard the joint utility of a number of learners and the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) at the moment. The candidates’ opposed Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s decision that, following the leak of each the arithmetic and physical science paper two, there would be a nationwide rewrite of the 2 topics. 

The date for the rewrite of maths is subsequent Tuesday; bodily science is set to be rewritten on 17 December. 

The events introduced the case on an pressing foundation and wish Davis to rule that the decision introduced by Motshekga is unconstitutional, invalid and may be set aside. They additionally need the court docket to interdict Motshekga from going forward with the rewrite. 

Umalusi got here below fireplace from the counsels of all of the candidates who alleged that the standard assurer bullied Motshekga into the decision by saying that it could not certify the results of the 2 topics. Counsel argued that Umalusi had failed to contemplate different out there choices as an alternative of a rewrite. 

The court docket heard that voices of senior administration inside the division and the Council for Education Ministers — the physique comprising the minister schooling MECs, and the director-general of the division — have been against a rewrite. Still, Umalusi had been steadfast {that a} rewrite was mandatory, as a result of the leaks had compromised the integrity of the examination. 

Quintus Pelser, the lawyer of Lienke Spies and three different learners from faculties in Pretoria — mentioned after receiving the preliminary investigation report into the leak, Umalusi had already made up its thoughts in regards to the rewrite and didn’t look ahead to a follow-up report. 

“From that report, they never moved nor considered anything else except for a rewrite,” he mentioned. 

He argued that Umalusi had prejudged the entire matter. “They do not know their place. They are the bully walking around ordering the department on what to do in the name of integrity, in the name of ethics and everything else.” 

Pelser argued that Umalusi didn’t take into account that learners might need gone on vacation, or that poor learners won’t have money to return to their faculties. One of the candidates Pelser is representing is getting married on Sunday and wouldn’t have time to organize for the examination on Tuesday.

At a press briefing on Friday, Motshekga had mentioned that as a result of the leaked papers had been shared on social media, it could be not possible to determine what number of learners had entry to the questions papers. 

This was a declare repeated in court docket by Chris Erasmus, representing Motshekga, and Dennis Fine, for Umalusi. However, Davis informed Fine that he didn’t discover a factual foundation for the declare {that a} rewrite would have been the one means. 

The choose mentioned the division and Umalusi appeared to have been counting on hypothesis that as a result of the papers have been leaked on social media, it could be troublesome to determine what number of learners had seen them. 

He added that fundamental schooling director-general, Mathanzima Mweli, mentioned in his affidavit that the paper had gone viral on Twitter. However, he mentioned there have been no info to base that declare on. The choose mentioned it appeared that, in keeping with Umalusi, all different views have been unreasonable. 

“Umalusi did not care that everyone else was saying ‘no rewrite’. It just said, ‘if you do not rewrite, we will not certify’,” mentioned Davis. 

But Fine argued that was not the case. He mentioned the decision for a rewrite was not a thumb-suck or a knee-jerk, response however was primarily based on the concern that if the leak was on social media, it couldn’t be arrested.

In an affidavit, Umalusi chief govt Mafu Ramoketsi mentioned a number of concerns drove the decision to conclude a rewrite. He mentioned, given the tactic of dissemination of the leaked papers, the integrity of the complete examination system was in query. 

However, Sadtu’s papers earlier than the court docket state that there was no historical past of a nationwide rewrite within the nation and that, when leaks had occurred in earlier years, culprits have been handled with out involving “innocent learners”.  

Counsel for Sadtu, Wisani Sibuyi, mentioned WhatsApp was a method for dissemination even in earlier leaks, but there had by no means been a nationwide rewrite. He additionally questioned why the division didn’t postpone the writing of the papers on realising that they have been leaked or print a backup paper. 

However, Ramoketsi mentioned the earlier years’ leaks have been totally different as a result of they may be traced to a sure variety of learners.

He mentioned Umalusi couldn’t problem certificates when investigations have been nonetheless ongoing, particularly given the view that the integrity of the 2 papers has already been irreparably compromised. 

Counsel for the learners additionally argued that the learners weren’t given sufficient time to organize for the rewrite and that, on the 2 days of the rewrites, some needed to write different exams within the morning. 

Although Rakometsi agreed {that a} rewrite is “inconvenient and disappointing” he mentioned the “the prejudice of which the applicants complain is, respectively, not serious”.

“The inconvenience is, however, mitigated by the fact that at least 11 days of notice of the rewrite was given and the preparations for these papers have already taken place. The inconvenience is incomparable with the prejudice of postponing matriculation of these candidates by a year,” mentioned Rakometsi.

“The applicants will not suffer any irreparable harm if they are required to rewrite the leaked papers. Taking the exam for the second time, especially in circumstances where preparations have already been finalised, cannot cause irreparable harm. On the other hand, there is a grave risk that they will not receive certificates on the finalisations of the investigation if it demonstrates that the leak of the paper was not contained,” Rakometsi mentioned.

In an affidavit, Mweli mentioned, ought to the decision for a rewrite be set aside, it could imply that the continued investigation into the leaks would be accomplished solely months from now and this might have far-reaching penalties for the learners. 

“Pending the finalisation of the investigations, the certification of these two subjects will remain in abeyance. That will bring about the fact that these few hundred thousand learners, some of which may wish to enrol at higher education institutions, or utilise the results of these subjects for whatever purpose, will not be able to do so,” he mentioned.

“That will [mean] these learners will be forced to lose a whole academic year. That must be weighed up against the inconvenience and disruption having to re-write the two subjects.”

A number of learners and their dad and mom have been current in court docket on Thursday. Davis will ship his judgment on Friday.


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