Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Johannesburg: Umalusi, the Quality Council in General and Further Education and Training, has approved the release of the 2021 national examination results, but has requested the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to block the results of candidates implicated in irregularities pending investigation.

Those included in irregularities are candidates involved in group copying and those who had early access to question papers.

During a media briefing on Tuesday, the Quality assurer said it has picked up a new trend in a few sectors in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng where learners were given early access to question papers a few hours before they write.

Professor John Volmink, Chair of the Umalusi Council, said that the executive committee of Umalusi noted that apart from some examination irregularities identified during the writing and marking of the examinations, there were no systemic irregularities reported that might have compromised the credibility and integrity of the November 2021 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations administered by the DBE.

“The Executive Committee of Council approves the release of the DBE November 2021 NSC examination results based on available evidence that the examinations were administered largely in accordance with the examination policies and regulations,” Volmink said.

“In respect of identified irregularities, the DBE is required to block the results of candidates implicated in irregularities, including the candidates involved in group copying, pending the outcomes of further DBE investigations and Umalusi verification. In the cases where candidates had unauthorised access to question papers, the results of the implicated candidates should be blocked pending further DBE investigations and Umalusi verification,” he said.

Pay attention to matters of non-compliance

Umalusi has required the DBE to address the directives for compliance and improvement highlighted in the Quality Assurance of Assessment report. The department has until 15 March 2022 to develop and submit an improvement plan to Umalusi.

“Particular attention should be paid to recurring matters of non-compliance. The Executive Committee of Council commends the DBE for conducting a successful examination despite the challenges presented by COVID-19,” the Umalusi Chair said.

Umalusi noted incidents of unauthorised and early access to question papers detected at some of the examination centres in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

“Specifically, Life Sciences and Agricultural Sciences papers were the affected subjects in those centres. This practice can potentially compromise the integrity of examinations if it is not addressed decisively,” the Umalusi Chair said.

Once again, Umalusi has appealed to all stakeholders involved in the examination process to refrain from engaging in such unscrupulous acts of dishonesty.

“In the meantime, the results of implicated learners will be blocked, pending further investigations by the DBE and verification by Umalusi. It is also worth noting that there are severe consequences for those found guilty of such criminal activities, regardless of whether they are learners, teachers or officials.

“Similarly, isolated incidents of group copying continue to plague the national examination system. These malpractices do not augur well for our examination system and the education system in general.” Volmink said.