Good start to matric exams, despite rain

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

By Sydney Masinga

Mbombela - The matric exams in Mpumalanga got off to a good start this week, despite heavy rains.

The exams started on Monday, when more than 58 000 matrics wrote their first English paper.

“We had incident free matric exams in the last three years and we want to keep that record... The only concern is the heavy rains across the province, but we have police, municipalities and troops on stand-by to help if the need arises,” said department spokesman Jasper Zwane on Tuesday.

The main concern relates to possible flooding.

Zwane assured that the days of scandal-ridden matric exams were over in Mpumalanga.

“There will be no more reports of leaked papers in our province. There are tight security measures in place and everyone must work with authorities to make sure that it stays that way,” he said.

Mpumalanga has improved its track record when it comes to holding matric exams.

Exam-related crises go back to 1998, when the department was accused of inflating that year's results by 20%, from 52% to 72%.

This came after a pass rate of 47% the previous year.

In 2004, matric results were withheld because of irregularities and, in 2008, more than 9 000 pupils in the province did not receive their results on time because the department had failed to submit their results to the national department for capturing.

In 2009, matric exams were marred by the leaking of several papers.

In November 2010, local police arrested 13 people, including an education official, a teacher, a prison official, 10 pupils and a shop worker, in connection with leaking exam materials ahead of the exams. This led to a decision by the national Education Department to take control of the matric exams in the province.

Education MEC Reginah Mhaule said she was happy that in the past three years, her department was able to run incident-free examinations.

“We have denounced mediocrity, turned the corner and have opened a new chapter of excellence in everything we do in keeping with the vision of the department,” Mhaule said. -  SAnews.gov.za

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