AfriForum takes Motshekga to court over matric exam rewrite

AfriForum takes Motshekga to court over matric exam rewrite

Lobby group AfriForum has added itself to a list of opponents to the Department of Basic Education’s decision to rewrite two leaked matric exams. 

matric pupils in class schools reopening
Sinethemba Madolo

This comes after the group headed to the High Court in Pretoria on Monday in a bid to reverse the decision by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga for all matric pupils to rewrite the leaked exam papers.   

The grade 12 Maths paper 2 and Physical Sciences paper 2 were leaked on the eve of the exam last month.    

“The civil rights organisation AfriForum is going to assist four matric learners on Wednesday 9 December in an urgent court application in the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria,” says AfriForum’s adviser for education rights Natasha Venter.

“AfriForum and the four matrics affected are the applicants in the case. This decision by the minister was made without any representative body of matric learners being consulted in this regard. 

The National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) and the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) are also opposed to the decision. 


Matrics exam rewrites 'will benefit pupils in long run', says Basic Education

Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga made the comments ahead of the South African Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the Congress of South African Student's (Cosas) decision to head to court on Monday, to overturn the decision. "We expected teacher unions to support the department because they understand the work that is happening in schools," Mhlanga says.

Venter says rewriting the exam will disadvantage some 400 000 matric pupils who took the exam in an honest manner. 

“During the weekend it also became known that the minister based her decision on an interim report according to which about 195 learners had seen the question papers and that most of the learners who had gained access to the papers are members of a WhatsApp group of top achievers selected by the department itself for preferential treatment and support,” Venter adds. 

At the start of the month, a 31-year-old Themba Shikwambana was arrested by the Hawks in connection with the theft of the Maths Paper 2. 

The accused works for a Johannesburg-based company contracted by the Department of Basic Education to print the matric exam papers.    

Venter says the department’s efforts are misplaced. 

“The department should focus on bringing to book the guilty persons who acted dishonestly by using the leaked papers and making them available.” 

Education expert Mary Metcalfe says there are positive and negative aspects to the decision.  

“The rewriting of the two papers definitely has some negative consequences but the majority of the consequences are positive. The negative consequences are that learners who had anticipated a particular date for the end of this momentous period of their life and this major transition have now to readjust to a new date. The second disadvantage is that writing any exam is stressful.  

“It’s a difficult choice to make for the DBE and uMalusi. If the leakage is minimal then to make everybody write again seems to be an overkill but nobody knows if the leakage was minimal and if it was an extensive leakage, then the whole credibility of the exam is lost,” Metcalfe explains. 

Maths paper 2 will be rewritten on 15 December while Physics paper 2 will be writer on 17 December.

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