The Department of Basic Education is working on a report on matric exam irregularities for quality assurance body, uMalusi.

The department recently put together a national task team to look into irregularities in the exam, like cheating, leaked papers and copying. It says findings will be in a report submitted to uMalusi by February 2021.

Information on the leaking of the Maths, Physics and Business Economics exam papers will also be included. The department says it has completed 90 percent of the marking of matric scripts.

The Department says it has put together a team, that includes marking investigators, to assess the patterns in the answers provided by matrics. This follows reports that some matric learners had used crib notes in the exam centres.

The leaking of three examination papers also presented a challenge for the department this year.

Director of Public Exams, Priscilla Ogubanjo, says they are compiling a report on cheating for uMalusi.

“DG has already established a national investigative task team and it is using a multi-pronged approach to gather information with regards to dealing with irregularities, this information will be then presented to uMalusi…” says Ogubanjo.

“At this stage, we cannot say if uMalusi has concerns, they will say for themselves but we will present our report to uMalusi on February 12, 2021,” says Ogubanjo.

The report will also include the final report on the leaks.

The matric marking process is expected to be completed this week and the 2020 matric results will be made public next month.

Some markers pull out at last minute:

In recent weeks, eight matric exam markers have died after testing positive for COVID-19 and according to the  Education Department, there are about 315 markers that had tested positive for the disease.

Ogubanjo, says the three fatalities were recorded in KwaZulu-Natal, which has the highest rate of infections in the country.

Ogubanjo says 90 percent of the marking process has been completed despite many teachers falling ill.

“A number of these markers or fatalities – we are speaking about most arrived already sick, some arrived and the very next day they were sick which means they were incubating, they had the symptoms when they arrived, unfortunately, the very next day or so they showed symptoms and normal protocols took place,” says Ogubanjo.

In all, over 2700 matric markers pulled out of the process mainly due to COVID-19 related reasons and fears, however, some provincial departments decided not to replace these markers.

Ogubanjo says, “A number of our provinces have completed ahead of schedule like Gauteng, KZN, and Limpopo they have already concluded, most marking centres are rounding up today or tomorrow…”

“We are also ensuring that there is social distancing and as few as 10 or 11 capturers in a room just in case one tests positive, you don’t have to close down the whole centre. Most provinces started their capturing on the 11th, everybody is expected to complete by the 25th,” she added.

Last year, an estimated 15% of pupils did not pitch up at government schools: