927 pupils linked to cheating allegations, Umalusi reveals

Umalusi CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi and Umalusi Council chairperson Professor Yunus Ballim. Picture Umalusi/Facebook

Umalusi CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi and Umalusi Council chairperson Professor Yunus Ballim. Picture Umalusi/Facebook

Published Jan 16, 2024


Durban — KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga were the two provinces implicated in cheating during the 2023 national senior certificates examination. This was revealed by Umalusi, on Monday.

The Umalusi Council sets and monitors standards for general and further education and training in South Africa in accordance with the National Qualifications Framework Act and the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act of 2001.

Umalusi CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi said 763 pupils in KwaZulu-Natal were linked to cheating allegations while 164 were involved in Mpumalanga.

“A number of suspects have been arrested for criminal irregular practice issues which includes the issuing of bogus certificates.

“For this reason, we urge the public to visit the Umalusi website to access a list of accredited institutions, said Rakometsi.

He also expressed the organisation’s concern about the poor quality of some examination papers which include physical science, Afrikaans, English and woodwork subjects. The 2023 end-of-year national exams were written by 1150303 candidates, according to the CEO.

He said 510 subject results were presented for standardisation, while raw marks were accepted in 335 or 66% of the subjects.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga is expected to announce the matric results on Thursday. The results will be released on Friday.

Despite the challenges faced in 2023 Dr Rakometsi thanked the public for a conducive environment which prevented hiccups during the examinations.

Professor Yunus Ballim said the public is allowed to contact Umalusi for clarity on the standardisation principle which is aimed to safeguard integrity.

“After studying all the evidence presented including the examinations administered in terms of the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) policy for the conduct of administration and management of examination with no irregularities which compromised the ability, Umalusi pronounces the approval of the examinations in 2023,” said Ballim.

KwaZulu-Natal deputy secretary of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, Lungini Makhathini, warned the Department of Education against irregularities that may tarnish the reputation of schools, educators and pupils.

“To prevent such issues, the existing school governing bodies should actively take part in minimising irregularities experienced during the national senior certificates examination process.

“We can’t have pupils who continuously cheat during exams while we have committees responsible for ensuring that such behaviours are put to an end,” said Makhathini.

He also expressed concerns about the poor quality of exam papers, which he believed impacted the exam results.

“Poor quality leads to leaking of papers because, in most instances, schools are compelled to make copies from those in good quality,” Makhathini added.

National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa KwaZulu-Natal CEO, Thirona Moodley, said all educators and pupils linked to such cheating allegations should be held accountable and face consequences for their actions.

“This conduct brings the integrity of the national exams into question. We look forward to the outcome of the investigations,” said Moodley.

KZN Education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi referred the Daily News to the national department.

Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the department worked together with Umalusi to resolve concerns.

“Printing errors happen at printing facilities where we discuss with the service providers to establish what the challenges are and fix them.

“Irregularities are human behaviour issues which need people to respect themselves and not undermine the system. It’s clear that where people cheat, we catch them and deal decisively with them.”

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