Concerns that education authorities will use the POPI Act to avoid accountability .
MATRIC results will no longer be published on public media platforms such as newspapers and digital platforms, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) announced.
DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said in a media statement: “The usual practice of publishing the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results on public platforms (media platforms) will not occur for 2021”.
Mhlanga said this was in line with the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (Act No. 4 of 2013) (the POPI Act) which came into effect on I July 2021. The POPI Act was put in place for the protection of private information against the unlawful collection, retention, dissemination and use of personal information.
“As was also the practice in previous years all learners will be required to obtain their statement of results from the schools they attended. In this way, every learner’s personal information with regards to the outcome of their national senior certificate exam will be protected,” he said.
Matric results are due to be released on January 21. This is after learners completed writing the NSC exams on December 7. The exam scripts have been marked and should be at the capturing stage.
Commenting on the department’s decision, education activist Hendrick Makeneta said it was a good thing that individual information of learners was being protected. He said, however, that the problem had already been solved when the department changed from publishing names to publishing exam numbers instead.
Makeneta also cautioned that the DBE may be using the POPI Act as a way to avoid accountability.
“The POPI Act is going to be a very nice scapegoat for lack of accountability by education authorities. The public education system is not doing well. For example, the DBE part took in international mathematics studies and the report by the World Economic Forum showed that South Africa listed at the bottom.
“This is a nice excuse going forward … there will be no proper accountability. We need to find a way to inform the country on the state and quality of education so that people are able to benchmark and see if we are on par.”.