News clipping – The Mercury – 17th October 2011

“Exam cheats will be caught: we’re ready”

Tough sanctions await officials, pupils and even schools where cheating is attempted as this year’s matric exams begin today.

Basic Education Department spokesman Panyaza Lesufi said the department had put sophisticated security measures in place at exam centres where cheating had occurred in recent years.

 “I won’t discuss the security measures, but the department is ready; they (exam cheats) will be caught. We have examples of people we caught (cheating) in Mpumulanga and they can’t write their exams for the next three years,” he said.

Group copying, pupils caught with crib notes and pupils hiring friends to write exams on their behalf were the most common types of cheating. Depending on the act, Lesufi said the department could withhold results, blacklist candidates from writing exams for three years or disqualify schools from acting as exam centres.

To curb cheating in KwaZulu-Natal, Mbali Thusi, the department’s provincial spokeswoman, said all district examination officials had received intensive training on the conduct of this year’s National Senior Certificate and Adult Basic Education and Training level 4 exams. These officials had passed this information on to chief invigilators in their districts.

Other measures included sending memos to exam centres which would help them manage problems, sending a communiqué to parents and guardians of candidates on the procedure and processes of the exam, and conducting a state of readiness audit.

 “Parental co-operation was emphasised and a comprehensive list of possible irregularities by candidates was high-lighted. We have also established joint operational centres in all districts to assist with the security of question papers and answer scripts... and ensure that candidates write the examination without any intimidation,” said Thusi. Police were also involved in the joint operational centres.

Education MEC Senzo Mchunu said candidates whose results were blocked would receive letters informing them of the reasons and the process to be followed.

By: Sinegugu Ndlovu