WCED takes steps to protect the integrity of the 2017 NSC examinations
Ensuring the integrity of the National Senior Certificate examinations is of utmost importance to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). The vault, which contains the examination scripts for the 2017 NSC, is under strict security surveillance to ensure that there are no possible leakages or irregularities.
Today, Tuesday 10th October 2017, I visited the location where the vault is situated to assess the security arrangements ahead of the 2017 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. Due to strict security measures, I could only monitor the processes from the outside the vault.
We have a responsibility to ensure that the examination process is conducted in terms of the Regulations pertaining to conduct and administration. To protect the integrity of the examinations, the following security measures are strictly adhered to:
- Each question paper is printed and packaged in the Province and is immediately sealed so that it cannot be tampered with.
- Each member of the staff dealing with the exam papers has been screened and is monitored closely by security cameras. No cellphones are allowed in the printing, packing and distribution areas.
- Each candidate has to place a bar-coded sticker on their examination script. This sticker enables the department to track every script through the entire examinations process
- Candidates are also monitored during the examinations. Invigilators and markers have been trained to identify any irregularities in the examination.
- Invigilators have been trained to be extremely vigilant and candidates are warned of severe penalties if caught cheating, including being banned for up to three years.
- Last year we also piloted the smart locking solution system at 91 schools. This system controls access to matric examination papers remotely via satellite. This year, we have expanded this system to include two additional districts. The smart locking system tracks the position of every key via GPS, to ensure that school principals only open the container at the specified venue at a specified time. The system tracks every step of the process and signals an alarm if it detects any deviation from the scheduled process. The advantage of the GPS-based system is that the WCED can respond to alarms in real time, in addition to standard checks that form part of each step in the process of managing the examinations. The main components of the system include:
- A high security container holding examinations papers
- A programmable, electronic lock
- A GPS-enabled electronic key
- Location and time specific
Monitoring of examinations will be done unannounced on a daily basis by Head Office, Districts, the Department of Basic Education and UMALUSI. All schools also have a risk management plan in place for any eventuality that might occur.
I am certainly impressed with the arrangements that have been put in place. This is a huge logistical exercise that requires careful planning and tight management. While we cannot always predict some extreme circumstances, I am confident that the Department has made all the necessary arrangements to avoid, where possible, any irregularities.
I would like to thank all the WCED officials involved for their commitment to ensuring the validity, credibility and smooth running of the 2017 NSC examinations.
I look forward to a peaceful and fair examination process and am confident that we will ensure that every candidate in the Western Cape receives his/ her paper on time.
Spokesperson to Minister Debbie Schafer
076 175 0663