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Yes, leaked maths and science matric exams to be rewritten in South Africa

“Nationwide rewrite announced for leaked matric exam papers,” reads a screenshot of what seems to be a news article, posted on Facebook in South Africa on 5 December 2020.

It was posted with the comment: “Minister Angie Motshekga have announced that ALL grade 12's will rewrite the second Mathematics and second physical science exams.” It gives the dates as 15 December for maths and 17 December for physical science.

The school-leaving matric exams for maths, physical science and life sciences were leaked days apart in late November. The maths paper was leaked in eight of South Africa’s nine provinces just hours before the exam was written. So far, one person has been arrested in connection with the leaked maths paper.

In early December there was a rumour that the basic education department would require all matriculants to rewrite their school-leaving exams in January 2021. Africa Check found this to be incorrect.

Facebook’s fact-checking system has flagged the post as possibly false. Will exams for the subjects of the leaked papers now have to be rewritten? We checked.

‘Integrity and credibility of matric papers’

The screenshot is of a genuine news article, published on the Daily Maverick on 4 December.

“It was not an easy decision to make, but the department of basic education said on Friday, 4 December that the integrity and credibility of the matric papers were compromised,” it reads.

The department’s statement, released by minister Angie Motshekga, confirms the news.

“We consulted key stakeholders on the matter, from school governing body associations, school principals association, teacher unions and the quality assurance agency, Umalusi,” the minister said.

“Having considered all of these factors, CEM [the council of ministers of education] decided that a national rewrite of both Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Sciences Paper 2 is necessary. [The] Mathematics Paper will be written on Tuesday 15 December 2020 at 14:00, and Physical Sciences Paper 2 will be written on Thursday 17 December 2020 at 09:00.” 

The department posted the rewrite dates on its verified Twitter account.

The Facebook post is correct. – Africa Check


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