Hearings into incidents of mass cheating during the matric examination will begin in Durban on Monday, the Department of Education said.
“The [investigative] team will conduct hearings, starting with chief invigilators and invigilators, and then the affected matriculants will also appear before the committee to tell their side of the story,” said departmental spokesman Elijah Mhlanga in a statement on Sunday.
“Umalusi will monitor the entire process while teacher unions will observe the hearings.”
More than 5300 candidates from all provinces are currently being investigated for various alleged irregularities, including mass copying during the exam, said Mhlanga.
Previously, it was reported that 28 exam centres in KwaZulu-Natal and 16 in the Eastern Cape were being investigated for cheating and that six centres in Gauteng, two in Mpumalanga, and one each in the Western Cape, North West and Northern Cape, also had irregularities.
Mhlanga said the investigation into the cheating was already underway and that Monday’s hearings, to be held at the Durban Teacher’s Centre in Overport, would be the second phase of their work.
The investigation is being led by a team compromising of national and provincial education department and Umalusi representatives.
Between January 23 and 26, provincial examination and assessment irregularity committees would submit recommendations to the national body.
“The final announcement on the investigation is expected to be made by 30 January.”
Mhlanga said at this time the results of the candidates who were cleared of wrongdoing would be released.
Candidates found guilty of involvement in the cheating would receive letters of sanction.
“Thereafter those who wish to appeal the outcomes of the investigation will be given an opportunity to do so.”
Previously, assessment monitoring body, Umalusi council chairman Prof John Volmink explained that during auditing processes at marking centres, evidence was picked up of “group copying,” whereby it appeared someone had dictated answers, some incorrect, to students.
The centres where reported cheating took place had their results withheld when the matric results were released nationwide last Tuesday.
A total of 550,127 full-time and 138,533 part-time candidates wrote the basic education department’s examinations.
On Sunday, Mhlanga said the department wanted the matter around cheating resolved speedily.
“We want to conclude the process as soon as possible to allow those learners who are cleared of wrongdoing to continue with their lives…and to institute the appropriate sanctions against those who are confirmed of wrongdoing,” he said. SAPA