Education department to launch urgent court appeal

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) says it is launching an appeal with immediate effect following the judgment handed down by the Thohoyandou High Court in Limpopo on Saturday.

Umalusi instructed the department to withhold the matric results of learners at New Era College pending an investigation by the Hawks and the department’s own internal processes.

New Era is an independent school owned by Tinyiko Elphas Khosa, the accused in the matter involving the leaking of Maths Paper 2 in Giyani.

Learners at this privately owned school took the department and Umalusi to court demanding the release of their results.

The department on Sunday expressed disappointment over the judgment and said it is launching an appeal in the interest of protecting quality education and the integrity of its examination system.

It said the effects of the judgment are that the DBE and the Limpopo Education Department are forced to release the results of the implicated learners from New Era College in Malamulele.

“We are gravely concerned about court decisions which undermine our efforts to provide quality education to learners.

“The public can be assured that we will do everything in our power and within the ambit of our Constitution and laws to protect quality education and the integrity of our examination system.

“We are extremely disappointed because there’s evidence indicating that there was wrongdoing and a person was arrested on the matter.

“There’s also evidence that shows learners had access to the examination question paper before it was written.

“This judgment is compromising our examinations and as a result, we will advise the province and Umalusi to appeal.”

The department said the judgement has the potential of sending the wrong message that pupils can cheat in the exams and then go to court to force the department to hand over their results, even though they might be guilty.

“We appreciate the work done by the Hawks thus far and we are confident that their investigation will help us root out the corruption that has the risk of tarnishing the credibility of the examination.

“It must be clear that those who cheat in examinations will be dealt with harshly.”

The department said it will explore all possibilities to protect the integrity, image and profile of the National Senior Certificate (NSC).

The department and its stakeholders will also review the policies and regulations that govern the management of irregularities in order to strengthen the examination system.