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Exam leak scandal rocks Unisa

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This is the second time this year but the institution insists that its assessments can still be trusted.

Johannesburg – An exam leak scandal has rocked Unisa for the second time this year.

This time over 17 modules have been compromised and leaked just before students sit for their final examinations. But the distance learning institution insists that its assessments can still be trusted.

Spokesperson Martin Ramotshela said: “While we acknowledge this challenge, we are of the firm view that the overall examination process remains reliable and intact. There were 2077 question papers being written by 298662 students.

“A total of 1 235 892 examinations are scheduled to be written during this session. With the exception of the modules above, all others were written without any hiccups. We have now strengthened our internal control systems to ensure that the remainder of the exams proceed smoothly.”

The first time the question papers were leaked was during the May/June examination in the human sciences, economics and management sciences, and accounting sciences colleges.

At the time, Unisa announced that it would stop the in-house printing of exam papers in an effort to avoid leaks but this doesn’t seems to have helped.

Ramotshela said on Monday thay they were on the trail of an individual implicated in the leaks.

“The university wishes to assure all stakeholders that it takes this matter very seriously, and that its investigation into the leakages, conducted jointly with the police since the May/June 2019 exam, is at an advanced stage and a breakthrough in this regard should be imminent.

“The investigation has identified the individual at the centre of this illegal activity. The police are on his trail and any information or tip-off from the public that might lead to his arrest will be welcomed,” Ramotshela said.

With the latest leaks, Ramotshela said they have immediately launched a forensic audit on private tutors offering tutorial classes and exams preparation sessions.

“The university has also taken cognisance of student complaints about telephone calls and SMSs received from private tutors offering services such as tutorial classes, exams preparation sessions as well as access to examination scopes.

“While these tutors are not attached to Unisa in any way, the university has resolved to immediately conduct a forensic audit to determine how such private individuals gain access to information about the university and its students,” he said.

Ramotshela said in order to secure the integrity of the exams, Unisa’s principal and vice-chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya has directed that additional security measures be put in place immediately and has appointed a high-level team to conduct further investigations and review the current systems and processes.

“The university has also made progress in its bid to identify and close any loopholes and strengthen control measures with regard to the production and distribution of question papers to the various examination centres.

“Among the measures put in place with immediate effect, and which only relevant university officials are privy to, is the change in the delivery mode and timing of all question papers as well as improved checks and balances relating to the receiving and opening of question paper packages at the examination centres,” Ramotshela said.

The university has encouraged anyone with information to contact the police or the Whistleblower Hotline at 0860 00 5050 or [email protected]

The Star