Teacher who allegedly sold Matric exam answers on WhatsApp yet to be punished

Exam cheating allegations against a Dlumana High School teacher remain unresolved while some of the school’s students are banned from writing this year’s Matric exams.

The Sunday Times reports that 935 students from 20 schools in Mpumalanga will only be eligible to write their Matric exams in October/November 2024 after they were found guilty of cheating in last year’s exams.

A whistleblower exposed the cheating scandal, through which the pupils had access to exam answers on WhatsApp during writing sessions if they paid participating teachers up to R1,500.

However, only one teacher faces disciplinary action, and their case has yet to be concluded.

Dlumana High School suspended a teacher involved in sharing exam answers on a WhatsApp group called “The Road to Varsity”. He deleted the messages soon afterwards.

Commenting on the teacher’s case, education department spokesperson Jasper Zwane said investigating labour cases is “laborious and require[s] due diligence”.

Professor Labby Ramrathan from the University of KwaZulu-Natal described the delay in finalising the teacher’s case as a “system failure”.

“The protracted delays contribute to the general apathy towards crime and professional dishonesty,” the Sunday Times quoted Ramrathan as saying.

Following the whistleblower’s claims, Department of Basic Education director-general Mathanzima Mweli approved the creation of a task team to investigate.

The whistleblower claimed that over 370 grade 12 students from three Mpumalanga schools were part of “The Road to Varsity” group and that there were at least two other similar groups charging subscription fees.

They also reported other forms of cheating, including teachers giving out answers during toilet breaks, passing crib notes to learners in exams, and telling learners to keep a spare cell phone in their sock in case they were asked to hand in their primary one.

The Department of Basic Education found grounds to act after one teacher posted answers to the Life Science Paper 2 on a group for teachers — seemingly thinking it was one of the cheating groups.

One of the schools it investigated — Magigwana Secondary — was praised the year before for achieving the highest number of bachelor passes in the province, and it appears as though students flocked to the school during their Matric year.

A deeper dive into the school’s logistics revealed that while the school had 1,008 students at the end of 2022, 527 were Matric pupils.

This was despite only 243 pupils being registered for Grade 11 at the school in 2021.

Three other schools — namely, Dlumana High, Nyamazane High, and Mugena High — were also singled out for abnormally high Matric learner numbers.

Insiders alleged that students flocked to the schools because they knew they would be allowed to cheat in exams.

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Teacher who allegedly sold Matric exam answers on WhatsApp yet to be punished