Minister Angie Motshekga: Briefing on investigation into exam paper leak in Limpopo

Minister Angie Motshekga on the leakage of the Mathematics paper 2, in the 2016 national senior certificate examination, in the Limpopo province

Good morning and thank you for attending this special briefing session which follows the announcement we made earlier this week that the Mathematics Paper 2, written as part of the National Senior Certificate examination, has leaked.

This was discovered at the Giyani High school, in the Mopani district in the Limpopo province. I am deeply disappointed by this unfortunate incident which has the potential of tarnishing the credibility of the National Senior Certificate examination. We take this breach very seriously given that over the last few years we have worked very hard to improve the security and all measures relating to the delivery of a clean examination. I must commend the team for acting swiftly in identifying the breach and for taking appropriate steps in ensuring that the examinations do not suffer further damage.

We have commenced with our investigations and we have engaged the services of the Hawks and we have also opened a case with the South African Police Service (SAPS). We have made significant progress in our attempt to get to the bottom of this breach. Our preliminary findings are as follows:

A copy of the question paper, which was not in exactly the same format as the final examination paper was received by one candidate who is a learner at the Giyani High School. The learner has come forward and made this confession voluntarily and he has made a full disclosure which is extremely helpful in taking the investigation forward.

Other learners from the school have also come forward and admitted to having received the question paper from a Whatsapp chat group, on their cell phones.

The question paper did not have the features of the final examination paper but the contents and sequence of the questions was exactly the same as the final question paper.

At this stage it would appear that the leakage could be limited to selected learners in the one school and a few learners from the neighbouring schools.

In taking this investigation forward so that we can ensure a speedy conclusion and to ensure the integrity of the examination as a whole, I have established a Ministerial Investigation Team that will fully investigate all aspects of this case. This Ministerial Investigation Team will work closely with the provincial colleagues and I have been assured by MEC, Kgetjepe, that his department will support this investigation and will take all possible measures to secure the rest of the examination. The Ministerial Investigation Team will report to me in the next six weeks and they will work closely with the Hawks and will engage the services of a private investigation company, if the case so warrants.

We are becoming acutely aware of the role of modern technology in the examination process and as a system we may not have adequately addressed the security risks associated with these communication innovations. We will obtain the expert advice of our Information Technology Specialists in addressing this matter. This may entail a review of our legislative framework and certain examination practices.

It pains me to imagine that amongst us are one or two individuals that are bent on undoing the good work that has been done over the years, in order to further their own selfish motives. These despicable elements must be identified and brought to book. These kinds of irregularities have the potential of jeopardising the future plans and ambitions of our learners. Therefore, a collective effort is required from all members of the community to weed out these elements. If you are aware of any of these activities please phone in on the DBE and PED call centre numbers (DBE Call Centre: 0800 202 933). All information will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.

To all candidates who are writing the examination, do not be distracted and my appeal to you is to keep focussed. Learners that deviously obtain an unfair advantage over others will be identified through our special measures that we adopt during the marking process and using post examination analytical measures. This examination is your gateway to your future career and as a Department we will not rest if this vital national asset is tampered with.

I thank you all once again for your support and lets continue to persevere to maintain high standards, high quality and a rigorous and robust examination system.

Source: Government of South Africa.

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