20°C / 22°C
  • Mon
  • 27°C
  • 16°C
  • Tue
  • 23°C
  • 15°C
  • Wed
  • 23°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 20°C
  • 11°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 10°C
  • Sat
  • 25°C
  • 11°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 22°C
  • 16°C
  • Wed
  • 24°C
  • 16°C
  • Thu
  • 21°C
  • 15°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 17°C
  • Sat
  • 20°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 31°C
  • 17°C
  • Tue
  • 23°C
  • 16°C
  • Wed
  • 24°C
  • 16°C
  • Thu
  • 24°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 25°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 26°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 30°C
  • 17°C
  • Tue
  • 26°C
  • 16°C
  • Wed
  • 25°C
  • 16°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 12°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 11°C
  • Sat
  • 25°C
  • 11°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 19°C
  • Tue
  • 25°C
  • 20°C
  • Wed
  • 26°C
  • 21°C
  • Thu
  • 24°C
  • 20°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 20°C
  • Sat
  • 23°C
  • 19°C
  • Mon
  • 22°C
  • 17°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 17°C
  • Wed
  • 19°C
  • 16°C
  • Thu
  • 23°C
  • 15°C
  • Fri
  • 21°C
  • 14°C
  • Sat
  • 21°C
  • 16°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 13°C
  • Tue
  • 23°C
  • 15°C
  • Wed
  • 24°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 23°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 29°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 27°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 19°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 16°C
  • Wed
  • 22°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 17°C
  • Sat
  • 20°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 30°C
  • 18°C
  • Tue
  • 26°C
  • 18°C
  • Wed
  • 25°C
  • 17°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 27°C
  • 12°C
  • Sat
  • 28°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 32°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 30°C
  • 15°C
  • Wed
  • 32°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 24°C
  • 12°C
  • Fri
  • 25°C
  • 11°C
  • Sat
  • 29°C
  • 12°C
  • Mon
  • 28°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 17°C
  • Wed
  • 25°C
  • 17°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 17°C
  • Fri
  • 26°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 27°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 23°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 20°C
  • 16°C
  • Wed
  • 18°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 21°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 21°C
  • 14°C

Vault of dreams: How matric exam papers are kept under lock and key

Behind a thick safe door and grill gate is a vault where education officials keep the all-important matric exam papers.

The vault where education officials keep the all-important matric exam papers. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - As the matric class of 2019 gears up to start written exams on Wednesday, security and the prevention of leaks will be top of mind for officials.

But have you ever wondered just how education authorities keep the papers safe and sound?

Behind a thick safe door and grill gate is a vault where education officials keep the all-important matric exam papers.

The woman who holds the keys has been charged with keeping these papers safe and secure for 12 years now. We are not revealing her name for security reasons.

“It is a huge task that we have to make sure that the question papers are safe, from the time we receive them from the national department up to the time they are printed, packed and distributed to the learners for the writing of the exam.

“It is a huge responsibility and it is one that I hold close to my heart, in terms of making sure that nothing goes wrong."

Provinces usually get the papers a few weeks before the exams, so the run-up to the year-end event is a flurry of activity, with a small, specially vetted staff working long hours to ensure the papers are correctly bundled and prepared.

The security measures are straight out of the movies: signs hang at the front of the main vault reminding employees that they are being watched and warning them to leave all electronic devices outside.

We can't tell you exactly where the vault is, and we weren't allowed to venture inside, but from just outside the open safe door we saw row upon row of shelves stacked with papers - and officials pushing trolleys loaded with more.

Even though the woman who gave us the tour is in charge of the vault, even she doesn’t have unfettered access.

“We adopt a double-locking system, meaning no one official has possession of a key and can access the vault on his or her own.”

And it's not just here at the secret venue in Cape Town where security is super tight: each schools has a similar system where just one person - the principal - has access to the question paper before it's handed to hopeful matrics.

For the thousands of Grade 12s writing their finals this year, those papers represent their future prospects - and hopefully the end of 12 years of school.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: This is where matric exam papers are kept safe

Comments

EWN welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

- Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
- Sexism
- Homophobia
- Religious intolerance
- Cyber bullying
- Hate speech
- Derogatory language
- Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all.

EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

comments powered by Disqus