Chief invigilator suspended after losing exam papers

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pretoria - The Gauteng Department of Education has suspended a chief invigilator after he lost a box containing 20 Physical Science exam question papers on Thursday.

Department spokesperson Charles Phahlane said the chief invigilator, who is the headmaster at Phefeni Senior Secondary School, was tasked with collecting exam papers from the local nodal point at 7am. When loading his car, it is reported the official put the box with exam papers on the roof of the vehicle.

"He drove off, forgetting to put the box inside the vehicle. He has been suspended pending further investigation," Phahlane said.

Phahlane said all the necessary steps have been taken to ensure the integrity of the matric Physical Science examination papers. An additional set of question papers was sent to the school and after a brief delay, all learners wrote the examination.

"The department took an immediate set of emergency measures to ensure that the accidental loss of a box containing question papers did not compromise the integrity of the matric exams.

"Security personnel appointed to ensure the safety of the matric exam were immediately deployed to the school. Answer papers submitted by learners at four schools within the geographic area of the loss will be quarantined to establish whether learners had prior knowledge of the paper," Phahlane explained.

He added that the department has a rapid response mechanism in place to deal with any exam related incidents.

"This mechanism kicked in within minutes of the incident and we can confirm that the following measures have been taken: we have instituted an investigation to establish the circumstances of the disappearance as well as to assess if any learner could have accessed the papers for the period before the examination started.

"The department has relieved the principal of his duties as chief invigilator. The department has appointed the deputy principal as the chief invigilator. We are investigating disciplinary charges against the principal regarding this incident.

"The exam process remains completely intact. The department has informed the national Department of Basic Education of the measures and they are satisfied with the steps taken," said Phahlane. -

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