Cape Town – The North Gauteng High Court on Friday setting aside the decision that the leaked matric maths 2 and physical science 2 exams should not be rewritten paints a damning picture of the incompetence of the Department of Basic Education (DBE), says DA spokesperson Baxolile “Bax” Nodada.
To avoid any further delays and disruptions to the 2020 academic year, the DA called on the DBE to respect and abide by the court’s decision, he said in a statement. Nodada is concerned that Umalusi, tasked with quality assuring the National Senior Certificate (NSC), had indicated that it will not be able to do so if the two exams are not rewritten.
Judge Norman Davis ruled that the decision for the exams to be written on 15 and 17 December is one which no reasonable person would have taken, when all the facts are considered.
Nodada said: ‘’The court has found that the procedure to be irregular, and that on that ground alone the review succeeds. It is shocking that the DBE cannot even decide in their own papers and arguments who is supposed to take the decision.
’’They argued that it was the director-general, then it was stated elsewhere that it was the minister, and yet elsewhere that it was the Council of Education Ministers, which is not a decision-making body.
’’The court found that the decision itself was not rational. This is not such a clear-cut issue, and there are some concerns that emphasis was placed on the inconvenience of learners, who are always told to keep a few days open after the exams in the event of a rewrite.
’’However, this does not appear to have been argued before the court by the DBE.’’
Commenting on the DA having urged Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga to release the preliminary report into the leaks, Nodada said: ’’It is clear that a significant factor in the decision to rewrite is the lack of adequate investigation into the source of the leak, and its extent. This issue should have been addressed immediately the leak was identified.
’’If it had been, further leaks could have been prevented and the extent could have been better identified which could have avoided the need for a national rewrite.
Nodada emphasised that the crucial issue amid it all is the integrity of the exams.
’’The DA urges the DBE to work closely with Umalusi to ensure that the integrity of the 2020 National Senior Certificate is protected. Umalusi, tasked with quality assuring the NSC, has indicated that it will not be able to do so.
’’This poses a significant risk that learners who have written maths and physical science may not receive their certificates next year. We cannot allow integrity to be compromised.
’’And it is unfair for the learners to sit with this uncertainty. We call on the bumbling DBE to urgently clarify what this means for our matrics of 2020.’’