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Matrics demotivated by decision to rewrite leaked exams

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Matric Mathematics and Physical Sciences pupils took to social media to express their frustration over the rewrite of subject papers following an announcement made by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

Grade 12 pupils writing exams.
Matric mathematics and physical sciences pupils took to social media to express their frustration over the rewrite of subject papers following an announcement made by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Filed Photo.

ON FRIDAY, Motshekga and her team confirmed that both the mathematics and physical sciences paper 2 would be written on December 15 and December 17, respectively.

Matric maths and physical sciences pupils took to social media to show their distress over the rewrite of these papers following an announcement made by Motshekga.

Motshekga in her heart-wrenching speech said this was the first time in history that there would be a national rewrite. Both papers were leaked hours before the exam would commence. An investigation by the Hawks confirmed that at least 195 pupils had access to the mathematics paper which went viral on social media, therefore, it would be “impossible” to ascertain which matric pupil saw it and who did not.

A Bryanston High School in Joburg penned an open letter to Motshekga saying the decision for a rewrite was demotivating.

“I am writing to you with pain in my eyes…

“Maths and science have been my (and I am sure, the majority of the matrics) most difficult subjects which I have prepared for – for in the last 2 years and 11 months….

“The announcement of the rewrite was more than demotivating, it was crippling and added on to the pile of tribulations 2020 brought with it,” the Grade 12 pupil penned.

The pupil said there was no benefit for the rewrite for those who had worked and studied hard.

Another matric pupil, @HannahFawler posted: “If you think 2020 can’t get any worse, my matric dance was just cancelled and I have to rewrite maths paper 2.”

Joe Kirsten wrote: “Imagine having the worst year ever, missing everything you dreamed of for four years of high school, and now at the very end, our … education department makes us rewrite 2 of the Biggest exams. #matricrewrite #cancelrewrites #DBE @DBE_SA you are shocking.”

Meanwhile, one pupil @S_PERC_Y said a rewrite was better than having someone cheat their way into university.

“And I understand that these two subjects pose a psychological threat to fellow matrics, why would they rather have someone take their university spot because of cheating whereas the tests can be retaken? I think that’s scarier than having to rewrite. Honestly, we can not be fair to everyone, but to be fair to most, we have to rewrite,” @S_PERC_Y tweeted.

The South Africa Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) is taking the Department of Education (DBE) to court to fight against the rewrite.

“Sadtu believes the decision to have all pupils doing the mathematics and physical science rewrite is unfair and premature because the investigation has not been concluded. Based on the initial investigation which has shown that the number of learners who may have seen the paper are less than 200 out of the 390 000 who wrote the paper, there is no basis for a national rewrite.

“The decision undermines the work of our teachers and pupils who worked under difficult circumstances due to Covid-19. Pupils are being punished for something that is not of their making as only a few saw the papers,” the statement said.