Clinical Psychologist Hameeda Bassa-Suleman says the Basic Education Department’s decision to order a re-write of two exam papers could have a negative psychological impact on matric learners.

Suleman says there will be few students with the resilience to do better on a second exam.

“It’s going to put them under generalized anxiety, stress and pressure. To take students who think they had been writing the original exam and to be told that was not the original exam and they going to have to write again, is going to put them under a different frame of mind which is not going to put them at their best.”

Suleman adds: “There will be very few students with a lot of resilience who will be able to do better on the second exam. But a lot of students will suffer because of this unprecedented kind of opportunity whereby they will have to re-write an exam they thought they’d finished.”

Leak of two Matric exam papers 

On Friday, Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that matric learners would re-write the Mathematics Paper Two and Physical Science Paper Two this month – after the papers were leaked.

A task team was established to determine the extent and source of the leaks.

“CEM (Council of Education Ministers) considered the preliminary report focusing on the extent of the leakage so that a recommendation can be made on the remedial action to be taken to address the compromise. Some of the key findings are that the viral spread of information on the cyber networks made it virtually impossible to accurately identify the number of learners that have had access to the leaked question papers,” says Motshekga.

Quality assurance body Umalusi concluded that the integrity and credibility of the two papers were compromised and therefore, a rewrite was needed.

“The National Senior Certificate (NSC) is the flagship qualification relating to schooling. The credibility of the NSC examination is of paramount importance. Any lingering doubt relating to the credibility of the NSC examinations must be thoroughly investigated and addressed. Avoiding prior access to the question paper is what all security measures are directed towards. Having considered all of these factors, CEM decided that a national rewrite of both Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Sciences Paper 2 is necessary. “

Motshekga says the decision taken for a re-write was not easy but necessary under the circumstances.

“We need to work hard to deal with the human factor in the examination system.”

She also welcomed the arrest that has been made in connection with the leaks.

“It is clear that the people responsible for leaking the question papers are adults. CEM appreciates the work being done by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, the Hawks. We welcome the arrest that has been made and we hope more arrests will follow. We really need to send a strong message that tampering with the national examination is a serious offence.”

Meanwhile, Teachers’ union, SADTU and student body, COSAS, are planning to go to court to challenge the re-write.

Minister Angie Motshekga briefs the media on matric examinations:

Minister Angie Motshekga’s statement: