The national Department of Basic Education (DBE) is currently undertaking an investigation into allegations of group cheating at several exams centers in Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) and the Eastern Cape. This comes after both the DBE and monitoring body, Umalusi discovered ‘irregularities’ in the writing of the 2014 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams in the provinces.
DBE spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, said they had picked up as early as the beginning of the exam period, a shocking trend of trend of mass copying. Subsequent to this discovery, the department chose to isolate the centers in question for further investigation.
“After doing the first phase of the investigation, we felt there was a need to interview the people who were implicated in the group copying. That is what we are currently doing. In KZN they are on day four (of the interviews), and in the Eastern Cape it is in day two,” he explained, adding that they hope to conclude the investigation within the next week.
The investigations are being conducted by teams allocated by the respective regional education departments, with the national DBE expected to join in to ensure they are being conduction as per regulations. The whole process is also being monitored by Umalusi, to ensure thoroughness and credibility.
Reports have also recently surfaced about a cheating scandal at a school in Althone, but Mhlanga stressed that this did not fall in line with the investigations being conducted in KZN and the Eastern Cape.
“The other irregularities are normal irregularities that we deal with on an annual basis when we do the administration of the examination. It is not to the extent that we felt it needed to be investigated in that way,” he said.
He noted that in the case of the DBE investigation, the group copying was found to be on a scale that was “really worrying”.
Mhlanga added that upon completion of the investigation, those found innocent would be issued their final matric results, as well as have their name cleared of any wrongdoing. However, guilty parties could potentially face a ban of anywhere between one and three years before they can re-write the matric exams.
The results of the investigation are expected to be released during the latter part of January. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)