Matric learners from Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape have mixed feelings about the Department of Basic Education’s recent announcement that exam results will no longer be published.

The department cited the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) as the reason, saying the dissemination of pupils’ personal information would be in contravention of the Act.

Some pupils support the idea, saying it will contribute to a decrease in the suicide rate associated with the release of matric results.

But other learners at the opposite end, feel it’s a long-standing tradition that should remain.

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Joy to seeing one’s name in print

In 2019 Killarney Hendriks didn’t do well in matric. She then decided to improve her results last year. But the one thing that she remembers clearly, was rushing to a 24-hour shop at midnight to check if she passed and the joy she felt seeing her name in print.

A feeling, she believes, matric pupils should not be deprived of.

“I remember how special it was for me back in 2019 when I went to the petrol station and saw my name, I screamed with excitement and experiencing that with my friends was so priceless. It’s a moment that you wait for all your life, because we work hard and then you have something to show for it. So it’s sad that the Matric Class won’t get to experience this.”

‘Ending own lives’

But not everybody feels the same about the changes.

“I think it’s more convenient because from the stories I’ve heard children go as far as ending their own lives because they feel embarrassed. Everyone will know and everyone will see their results. So now at least they have a choice to disclose the results with others or not,” explains one matriculant.

“I am a little disappointed because it was a type of tradition that when you get your results in the newspaper because everyone was excited. and it’s a special moment because you spend it with your parents but now you must first go to school to receive it there,” another matriculant adds.

Education experts also say the announcement should be made earlier to assist the Class of 2021 to prepare for this year.

Education expert Dr Susaan Van Rensburg says, “Here we need a huge debate about who is actually the owner of this knowledge. Because I feel it’s an investment in human capital. As the taxpayer invests in the future of their county and I, therefore, think they are entitled to know. It’s not the names of these people it’s a question of seeing numbers, ID numbers, examination numbers. then you can get a general opinion.”

Then there is also the impact this decision might have on the newspaper industry.

Printed news is in a steady decline triggered by a loss in readership and ad revenue which have been migrating to other media, most notably digital platforms.

Media Monitoring Africa’s William Bird says, “There is no doubt that this will have a negative impact on the newspapers. I know that many of them were using this as a way of getting in extra advertising, revenue because they knew that the copies would sell out and many more to be printed. So this news would definitely be a big blow to this industry. And with declining sales and revenue, this is definitely bad news for an industry that’s already ailing.”

The results will be released on the 21st of January at various schools around the country.

 

 

 

 

 

Education specialist Dr Susaan Van Rensburg has questions about the change. “And here we need a huge debate about who is actually the owner of this knowledge. Because I feel it’s an investment in human capital, as the tax payer invests in the future of their county and I therefore think they are entitled to know. It’s not the names of these people it’s a question of seeing numbers, ID numbers, and examination numbers. Then you can get a general opinion,” says Dr Susaan Van Rensburg.

Some pupils in Gqeberha support the idea, saying it will contribute to a decrease in the suicide rate associated with the release of matric results. Other learners say the publication of the results is a long standing tradition that should remain.

“I think it’s more convenient because from the stories I’ve heard children goes as far as ending their own lives because they feel embarrassed everyone will know and everyone will see their results so now at least they have a choice to disclose the results with others or not,” Matriculant elaborates.

“I am a little disappointed because it was a type of tradition that when you get your results in the newspaper because everyone was excited. And it’s a special moment because you spend it with your parents but now you must first go to school to receive it there,” another matriculant added.