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Media Release

31 October, 2007

Matrics to rewrite English First Language Higher Grade Paper 2

Statement by Sindi Shayi, Acting Head of Education in the Western Cape.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has informed schools that matric candidates will have to rewrite the English First Language Higher Grade Paper 2 on Friday, 23 November 2007.

This follows an incident at the South African College High School (SACS) on 10 October 2007 when the incorrect paper was handed to some of the candidates, and a leak of aspects of the content to some candidates at SACS and other schools.

The WCED has investigated the incident and has found that the leak has compromised the integrity of the examination.

As part of the investigation, candidates have submitted statements to the WCED indicating that they were aware of some of the content of the examination before it was written on 11 October 2007.

Unfortunately, we only heard of the incident after 11 October, and we were in no position to contain the leak, which went well beyond SACS.

We have to protect the integrity of the examination, and so we are arranging a substitute paper to be written at 09h00 on 23 November 2007 at venues where candidates sat for the initial paper.

The date is the first available day after the final paper on the matric examination timetable. We cannot hold the examination earlier because there is no other time available during the examination period that would suit all candidates who have to rewrite the paper concerned.

The WCED has asked principals and examination centre managers to inform all candidates who wrote the initial English First Language Higher Grade Paper 2 about the new date, and to make the necessary arrangements to rewrite the paper.

The English First Language Higher Grade Paper 2 is a provincial examination. The impact of the decision to rewrite the paper is therefore limited to the Western Cape. The WCED has informed the national Department of Education of the decision.

The WCED is continuing investigations into the incident according to the Regulations on the Conduct of Senior Certificate Examinations issued by the national Department of Education in terms of the South African Schools Act. The regulations provide a framework for dealing with irregularities, including procedures and possible sanctions.

The investigation has looked at the incident in which the English First Language Higher Grade Paper 2 was handed out in error as well the subsequent leak of some of the content.

The investigation has found that those responsible for managing the examination at SACS on 10 October did not follow prescribed procedures correctly when opening and checking packages of papers, and when distributing papers to candidates.

The department has terminated the contract of the Chief Invigilator at SACS and has issued a verbal warning to the Head of the English Department at the school. The WCED is still investigating the role of the principal, who is the accountable Examinations Officer at the school.

The WCED is continuing its investigation into the leak of some aspects of the paper, in line with the regulations on examination irregularities. There is sufficient conclusive evidence to show that the leak extended well beyond the school, and we now have no choice but to rewrite the English First Language Higher Grade Paper 2.

We appreciate the assistance that we have received so far in this investigation. We regret the inconvenience caused to those who will have to rewrite the examination. We wish that it was not necessary. However, we have to ensure the integrity of the examination for the benefit of all concerned.

For inquiries, telephone Brian Schreuder at 082 373 5989 or e-mail bschreuder@pgwc.gov.za.



Issued by:
Paddy Attwell
Director: Communication
Western Cape Education Department
Tel: 021 467 2531
Fax: 021 461 3694
Email: pattwell@pgwc.gov.za

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2007 WCED