By Karen Singh
Durban – THE Department of Basic Education said matric pupils’ applications to study at tertiary institutions may be affected if the results of the two leaked matric exam papers are not certified by Umalusi.
This follows the Pretoria High Court ruling last week that set aside the directive by the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga that matric pupils should rewrite Maths paper 2 and Physics paper 2 because both exam papers were leaked.
Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the department would only give results to candidates once quality assurer Umalusi had given the go-ahead.
He said according to the National Qualifications Framework Act 67 of 2008 and General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act 58 of 2001, the function of the independent body, by law, was to assure the quality of the examinations.
“It means they might not be admitted to study at university until such time the matter is finalised,” said Mhlanga.
For this reason, Mhlanga said the department felt that the judgment had not assisted the sector in clarifying the issue regarding the credibility, integrity and fairness of the 2020 National Senior Certificate(NSC) examination.
Universities South Africa(USAf) chief executive, Professor Ahmed Bawa, said the universities depend on the accreditation of the NSC examinations by Umalusi, adding that there would be dire consequences if Umalusi did not accredit the examinations.
Bawa said USAf was engaging with Umalusi to understand what its next steps would be. “We will work closely with Umalusi on this matter to ensure that no further stress is placed on the Class of 2020 with respect to this issue,” said Bawa.
He said if Umalusi was not open to accrediting these examinations, the universities would meet to consider a sectoral approach.
“It is early at this stage to contemplate the possible solutions to such an impasse,” he said.
The Stellenbosch University(SUN) said it would await input from the education department and Umalusi on the matter.
“Nearly 70% of our newcomer students are studying in programmes for which mathematics was an admission requirement. It will thus affect the registration of most of our newcomer students if the results cannot be certified,” said SUN.
SUN said if this were the case, the university would then have to consider other alternatives.
The University of the Witwatersrand(Wits) said it was difficult to speculate on the outcome of the matric certification process at this stage
Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said if the results from those two exams were not certified by Umalusi, the decision would have an impact on the entire post-schooling system, including universities.
“Universities like Wits, which have an intake of over 50% in science, engineering and technology, will undoubtedly be impacted,” she said
The university said it would wait for Umalusi’s before looking at the way forward.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal said it was not in a position to comment on the matter at this stage.
Umalusi referred The Mercury to a statement it issued last week after the judgment in which it said that it cannot pre-empt the outcome of its own processes regarding the approval of the 2020 National Senior Certificate results.
It said the council needed to implement all its quality assurance processes before a final decision about the credibility and integrity of national examinations could be made.
It declined to provide further comment on the matter.