Matric scam uncovered: invigilators gave answers to adults sitting exams [Cape Times (South Africa)]
(Cape Times (South Africa) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) AN EXAM cheating scam has been uncovered in KwaZulu-Natal among those writing this year's Senior Certificate.
A probe by the Basic Education Department of irregularities during the writing of the exam found invigilators had helped the candidates answer questions in subjects including physics, accounting, maths, economics and history.
Umalusi, the exam quality watchdog, has cleared the other eight provinces, and their results will be released on Wednesday.
The Senior Certificate exams, known as the old matric exams, are written by those adults who left school without matric. It is based on the old curriculum which was replaced by the National Senior Certificate in 2008.
These exams are not written at schools or managed by principals, and nearly 46 000 candidates were registered to sit them in KZN this year.
Last month the national department opted to instigate a full probe when Umalusi discovered that a sample of scripts from KZN contained similar answers.
The national department conducted an audit of the scripts collected from the 95 exam centres deemed suspicious. There are 365 exam centres in KZN in total.
The scripts were analysed for patterns such as similar spelling errors or containing the same incorrect answers.
The probe found that invigilators at 49 exam centres, spread across nine out of the 12 education districts in KZN, had helped the candidates to correctly answer exam questions. Of the centres probed, 46 were cleared.
The KZN Education Department plans to revamp the exam process, which includes taking over invigilator duties and roping in the police.
National department spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said the old matric exams were a challenge because they were written by adult candidates and managed by adult education centres instead of schools.
"These examinations are administered at state and private centres during May and June each year. However, it would appear that unscrupulous private centre owners and managers have exploited candi- dates, who are desperate to obtain a matric, for a fee and offer "support" to these candidates during the writing of the exam.
"The department will utilise the service of the SAPS and the National Intelligence Agency to root out this practice, and all culprits will experience the full might of the law."
The early identification of these irregularities and the isolation of these irregularities to one province confirmed that the exam detection and security systems were effective and therefore the exam was not compromised as a whole, Mhlanga said.
This year, nearly ' 000 adults registered to write the old matric certificate.
The provincial department plans to deregister all current matric exam centres and draw up a new list overseen by its district officials.
Other tweaks will include |the replacement of invigilators who are not permanent employees of the department with district and school officials.
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