Basic Education launches investigation into matric exam cheating allegations

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The Basic Education Department has warned that educators and learners, found to have been involved in cheating during the recent matric examinations, could face severe punishment.  The Department has launched an investigation into allegations of cheating in the recent matric exams, involving over 1 000 learners from six provinces.

A number of Mpumalanga learners allegedly paid teachers up to R1500 to join WhatsApp groups, where answers were posted on the platform during exam sessions.

There have also been allegations of learners using various cheating methods in Maths Literacy, Economics and English papers in Gauteng, Limpopo, the North West, Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

The Department’s Spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga says there could be criminal charges because in recent years we have been working with the Hawks on matters of irregularities involving exams.

“So, we are exploring all options to make sure that the punishment is severe and serves as a deterrent. If there is a Whatsapp group it means that people are coordinating within that platform. Several things could happen. 1. They could be asked to rewrite. 2. They could be banned for 1-3 years from writing their exams which means their lives would have to pause because of what they have done. But Umalusi would also make the final decision.”

When the examinations started last month, the department sent a stern warning to learners writing to refrain from attempting to illegally acquire question papers, saying the consequences and penalties could be severe.