Matric exam leak: Education dept to challenge ‘some’ aspects of ruling

To avoid further delays and disruptions to the 2020 academic year, the department officially confirmed that there will be no rewrite next week.

Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The Basic Education Department on Saturday said it would challenge some aspects of the judgment which overturned its decision for a rewrite of two leaked matric exams.

The High Court in Pretoria set aside a decision to have grade 12's rewrite the second papers for maths and physical science, ruling that the decision by the department was unlawful and irregular.

To avoid further delays and disruptions to the 2020 academic year, the department officially confirmed that there will be no rewrite next week.

The department had wanted matriculants to write the papers to protect the integrity of the exams.

However, following a meeting with the country’s education MECs, it resolved to abide by the court’s decision.

The department, which has been in and out of court this year following several disruptions to academic year, said it would not take the defeat lying down.

Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the ruling could not be left unchallenged and emphasised that the court failed to address the impact the leaked papers would have on the credibility and fairness of the 2020 National Senior Certificate.

“A number of aspects in the judgement needs to be challenge and that in the near future it would be approaching the courts to correct some of those identified aspects of the ruling, seeing as the court did not deal with the crux of the matter.”

On Saturday, the Education Department said it would not appeal the High Court ruling. With investigations into the leaks still ongoing, the department said it would accept the ruling, however, with reservations.

Earlier, it was reported that it remained to be seen whether quality assurer Umalusi would certify the 2020 National Senior Certificate exams.

In its court papers, Umalusi argued a rewrite was the only option to ensure the marks of matriculants were credible as it found the leaked papers to be irrevocably compromised.

Lawyer at AfriForum Willie Spies said, “What may still be an issue is the decision of Umalusi as to whether or not they’ll certify the examinations.”

Student body Congress of South African Students (Cosas) also welcomed the ruling, saying it was a victory for matriculants who did not cheat in the final exams.

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