Umalusi ready for matric exams, wants more regulation of online schools

Umalusi's CEO Mafu Rakometsi said that the Basic Education Department and Umalusi still had to finalise policy and legislation to make sure that this space was regulated.

FILE: A teacher hands out matric exam question papers at Moletsane High School in Soweto. Image: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Umalusi on Friday said that it was all systems go for this year's final matric exams, however, the same could not be said about online schools.

Every year the regulatory body has to evaluate whether public and private schools are ready to handle the large number of pupils expected to write their final papers.

This year, more than 958,000 pupils will sit to write their final year exam in public schools while 36,000 others will do so in private schools.

Part of Umalusi's work is to determine through assessments whether the Basic Education Department and the Independent Examinations Board are all set with enough resources to ensure a free and fair examinations.

Although there is a rise in online learning and teaching, Umalusi's CEO Mafu Rakometsi said that more needed to be done to ensure that they were operating in line with what was required.

“This space remains unregulated and Umalusi cannot give any guarantee. While it is true there is a need for online schooling, South Africans must be patient.”

He said that the Basic Education Department and Umalusi still had to finalise policy and legislation to make sure that this space was regulated.

Meanwhile, Rakometsi said that he was confident that educators had pledged to remain honest and that there would not be any papers leaked that could result in pupils trying to cheat the system.

HOPEFUL NO PAPERS WILL BE LEAKED

South Africa’s education standards authority said it could only hope there would be no leaked matric exam papers this year.

However, Umalusi is pleased with security systems put in place by the basic education department and the Independent Examinations Board.

Last year, the exams were marred by leaked Mathematics and Physical Sciences papers.

Pupils will write amid some resource shortages, including head office staff in charge of running the examination process.

Rakometsi is, however, hopeful these challenges will be addressed before pupils enter exam halls.

“There will always be an individual, an odd one out, who will compromise the system and that weak link is the one that creates problems for us. But as things stand, the staff in examinations have been vetted by the department.”

Rakometsi said the success of this year’s exams would rely largely on the commitment and integrity of those in charge.

Umalusi said officials signed a pledge to stay honest and act against those who try to discredit the examination process by leaking papers to pupils.

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