Matric cheaters could face 3-year-ban

Hearings into alleged cheating during the 2014 matric exams began on Monday.

FILE: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announces the national and provincial matric pass rates in Auckland park in Johannesburg on 5 January 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Basic Education Department says matriculants who are found to have cheated could be banned from writing matric for the next three years.

Hearings into alleged cheating during the 2014 matric exams at 20 exams centres in KwaZulu-Natal began on Monday with implicated invigilators facing a first round of questioning.

Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says the extent to which pupils and invigilators could be punished will depend on their involvement in the cheating.

He says officials found to be complicit in the scandal could face criminal charges as there is an element of fraud and misrepresentation.

Meanwhile, education quality assurer Umalusi, says it's the first time they've ever detected such mass cheating.

The hearing, which is being adjudicated by officials from the Basic Education Department and Umalusi, is expected to be concluded before the end of this month.

Alleged cheating was also uncovered at 16 centres in the Eastern Cape and several other provinces.

Markers found that grade 12s in affected areas sometimes gave the same incorrect answers.

The subjects mainly affected by the scandal are mathematics, economics and business studies.

Results at affected schools will be withheld as the probe continues. Umalusi suggested school principals be held accountable and if possible, criminal charges be laid.