COSAS: Department of Basic Education Decision Not To Publish Matriculants' Names 'A Delaying Tactic'

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - NOVEMBER 27, 2014

The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) is not satisfied with the decision by the Department of Basic Education to stop publishing names of students in newspapers and rather identity numbers and examination numbers, its President said on Thursday.

The department made the decision to omit pupils' names following complaints that the publication of final results infringes on pupils' rights to privacy. But COSAS says the whole tradition of publicising results should be scrapped completely.

“As an organization we remain committed to the call we have always made that the publication of matric results must come into a complete stop,” COSAS President General, Collen Malatji, said in a statement.

“The Congress of South African Students views this move of the Department of Basic Education as a delaying tactic, as the department realizes that the act is incorrect and it violates the rights of students.”

He said that COSAS was also concerned about the display of ID numbers of the matriculants and what measures have been put in place to ensure that it does not expose them to fraud or any other form of danger.

“The organization cannot celebrate these developments however we can only appreciate that the department of basic education is considering our call and is listening to the thousands of voices of students and the community at large.

“The organization intends to continue engaging the department and advocating for the banishment of the publication of matric results completely. We encourage all matriculants to fetch their results from their respective schools and not consider these newspapers,” Malatji said.

On the change of passing standards for Grades 7 to 9

He said that COSAS has also noted the announcement of the Department of Basic Education which was a reminder of the change of passing standards for Grades 7 to 9 even though it was for a first time some citizens of South Africa were hearing about it.

“The organization notes that these changes are entailed in the CAPS document which currently guides the curriculum, with that knowledge however the organization does note with concern the impact that these changes will have on the pass rate of the grades in question,” said Malatji.

“As an organization we believe such extreme changes should be made at an earlier stage a soon as a learner begins doing the grades where they are compelled to do 9 subjects in, so that there is continuity and they are used to the high standards of passing the sudden change at such a later stage of studying may carry a negative impact.

“The change of the  number of subjects needed to pass from 7 to 8 and the increase of the marks needed to pass the languages to 50 for home languages and to 40 for second additional languages will indeed raise the standards in schools but we are of the view that this should be in line with quality of education which will be given to the learners and aided with all the necessary learning materials, there needs to be assurance that the learning conditions are conducive for learners to be able to meet these standards.”

Malatji also said that the announcement of the Department of Basic Education on this issue at the end of the year and opening a space for the public at large to engage on it now is a course for concern and is futile as the damage may already be done in some schools, which may lead to a higher fail percentage rate. 

The 2014 matric results will be released on 5 January 2015.