Council of Education Ministers calls for urgent action against exam cheaters

FEBRUARY 3, 2015

The Council of Education Ministers, which consists of the Minister of Basic Education, her Deputy and the provincial MEC's, has called for urgent steps to be taken to deal with cheating in examinations. The Council met in Pretoria on Monday to discuss the Preliminary report into allegations of group cheating in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. 

This meeting comes when the Grade 12 results of 34 centres in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have still not been released.

The meeting was chaired by Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Enver Surty in the absence of the Minister who is currently out of the country on official business.

“MEC's agreed that the process of dealing with those cases where evidence of group cheating has been uncovered needs to be finalised with the utmost urgency and needs to ensure that the integrity and credibility of the education system is protected. 

“They acknowledged the serious nature of the copying and expressed concern at the extent of the problem, but more especially the extent to which adult invigilators, many of them teachers or principals were involved in assisting learners,” the Department of Basic education said in a statement. 

“They suggested learners who were involved need to be dealt with according to the regulations; however an element of compassion also needs to be applied due to the fact that in many instances they were influenced by the adult invigilators. The extent of the learners' participation needs to be considered when deciding how to deal with the individual cases. 

“For the adults involved however, the MECs agreed that the allegations are extremely serious and the highest punishment needs to be considered to ensure they are not able to perpetuate the problem throughout the system. They were unapologetic in their assessment that this type of behaviour from adult invigilators cannot be condoned in any way.”

The Minister will consider the report as well as the recommendations suggested to prevent group copying from taking place in the future.

This could mean the department needs to review the current methods used in appointing the invigilators and who is eligible to be an invigilator.