The safety and security of examination materials has been one of the focal points in the preparations for the 2017 National Senior Certificate (NSC), examinations quality assurer Umalusi has said.
Drastic measures will be taken against any pupils, teachers or department officials who are implicated in acts of dishonesty.
“Unfortunately every year Umalusi becomes aware of new efforts by unscrupulous people to cheat the system, and every year we strive to improve our systems so that we can continue to close down any gaps or spaces where such incidents could occur,” Umalusi chief executive Mafu Rakometsi said.
This comes after paper leaks in the past years, particularly in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.
“Umalusi notes with regret that last year’s final NSC examinations were marred by an incident of a paper leakage in Limpopo,” Rakometsi said.
However, he said the system in most provinces was improving, such as Mpumalanga, where cheating was a thing of the past.
He said pupils will be asked to sign a pledge not to cheat.
“Overall, Umalusi is satisfied with the preparations for the end-of-year exams, and is confident that the general education system is prepared to run assessments successfully.
“Umalusi is also pleased to report most provinces have improved their systems based on concerns raised by Umalusi,” Rakometsi said.
Cameras have been installed in printing areas to ensure that examination papers were secured, he said.
Overall, Umalusi is satisfied with its preparations and was confident that the general education system was adequately prepared to run assessments successfully, he said.
“However, this does not mean that Umalusi does not have some concerns regarding the upcoming national examinations,” Rakometsi said.
“Consequently, Umalusi has recommended to the provincial departments of education that these concerns must be addressed before the commencement of exams to avoid a negative impact on the administration, management and monitoring of the examinations.
“For its part, Umalusi will also intensify its monitoring where it deems it necessary to do so,” he said.
The 2017 examinations will be written by 634814 full-time and 161475 part-time candidates, making a total of 796289 candidates.
The examinations will take place at more than 6844 centres across the provinces.
The Independent Examinations Board has registered 11473 full-time candidates across the country and 687 part-time candidates at 231 examination centres. Examinations will start on October 23.