Department of basic education edges closer to releasing matric results

Six provinces have concluded the marking of matric scripts; the rest are expected to finish by Friday. 

At a media briefing this morning, basic education director general Mathanzima Mweli and director of national examinations Priscilla Ogunbanjo outlined the process to be followed when marking is concluded.

Ordinarily, by early January the matric class would receive their results, and the department would have been occupied with the new academic year.

However, because schooling was suspended for months last year, with grade 12 learners missing three months of schooling after a level-five lockdown was instituted, the matric examination started later

The last paper of the matric exam was written on 15 December. This has meant that all processes concerning the exam have been pushed back.


Speaking at the media briefing, Ogunbanjo said that Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape had finished their marking well ahead of schedule. The last day of marking is on Friday. She said those provinces yet to finish marking were left with one or two subjects to complete.

“Certainly, on Friday there will be no one at the marking centres,” she said. 

Ogunbanjo also said that the capturing of marks had already started at 34 capturing centres across the country, and that this process will be concluded on 25 January.

Both Mweli and Ogunbanjo said although marking took place under challenging circumstances because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it proceeded without any glitches,except for a small number of markers who tested positive for the virus, some of whom died from it. 

Ogunbanjo said that, of the 45 272 markers, 315 tested positive, and seven died. 

‘Patriotic’ markers

Mweli said the markers showed the highest act of patriotism for taking on this job during a pandemic.

“We regret those who have fallen in the process of carrying [out] the job. We have also lost chief markers, internal moderators at the national level, and some at the provincial level. This is expertise, skills, competencies and experience that we acquire over many years, so it will take some time for the sector to replace these men and women. But we are eternally grateful to each and every marker,” he said. 

When the process of capturing marks and standardisation has concluded, the department will present a report of irregularities to quality assurer Umalusi. This is due to occur on 12 February. It will be up to Umalusi to say whether it accepts the matric results of the class of 2020.

Mweli said the report would also include further information in the mathematics and physical science paper two leaks. Both these papers were leaked hours before they were to be written.

A preliminary investigation report found that the leaks’ extent could not be established, because the papers were leaked on social media. This led to Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga announcing that a decision had been taken for a national rewrite of these two papers, to protect the examination’s integrity.

But it was not to be. The South African Democratic Teachers Union and individual learners took the department to court and asked that the decision be set aside.

Pretoria high court judge Norman Davis ruled in favour of the teachers union and the learners.

However, the jury is still out on whether Umalusi will accept the results or not. 

At the briefing, Ogunbanjo said the department could not preempt whether Umalusi would accept the results, but that it would present the irregularity report on 12 February.

Motshekga is expected to release the national matric results on 22 February. 

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Bongekile Macupe
Bongekile Macupe is an education reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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