Matric project scrapped over elements that could affect election behaviour

Henry

The Gauteng Department of Education scrapped matriculants’ life orientation project nine days before the start of the June exams due to “sensitive elements” in the content that could influence learners’ election behaviour.

This project forms part of the learners’ portfolio.

According to an internal memorandum sent to district directors, it was decided to withdraw the project entitled “Poor access to clean water”, “after careful consideration and discussion with relevant stakeholders”.

“Certain elements can be interpreted as advocating for specific political views or as influencing learners’ voting decisions.”

Melanie Buys, head of development at the Solidarity School Support Center (SOS), says that this will negatively affect learners who have already spent a lot of time on this.

“This extremely instructive project about the water crisis at Hammanskraal is now canceled and replaced with a new, election-friendly topic. Learners who have already completed the task must now sacrifice study time to start over with something they have already completed.”

According to the letter, the first two activities of the assignment remain unchanged, as well as the assessment requirements “to ensure fairness”.

However, it is unknown when the schools concerned will be informed about the new topic.

In the project, learners are expected to research poor service delivery, focus on access to clean water and compile a report. The report should include possible causes, highlight key challenges and consequences, the role that government and municipalities can play and make recommendations.

Steve Mabona, spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Basic Education, has not yet responded to an inquiry. Any comments from the department will be updated.