Public Protector agrees to investigate case of disallowed Grade 12 learners

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

The Public Protector has agreed to investigate the curious case of four learners who were allowed to attend Grade 12, but not allowed to register for the National Senior Certificate exams.

The learners from Thembeka Senior Secondary School in Kanyamazane failed Grade 11 four times, and after the last attempt appealed to the principal to condone them to attend Grade 12. However, when the principal could not give them a clear indication, saying he needed to discuss the issue with the education department, the learners started to attend Grade 12.

After months of waiting, repeated enquiries to the principal, circuit manager and the head of the education department, the learners were refused registration for the final exams which start in 10 days. This despite being on the Grade 12 class register, being allowed to write trial exams and receiving Grade 12 term reports.

It is disturbing that two of the learners are on the school’s list of registered matriculants, and two not at all. This raises many questions and may substantiate rumours of the so-called A and B lists. It’s alleged that some schools have an ‘A’ list for learners who are expected to pass Grade 12 and a ‘B’ list for those expected to fail. B-list matriculants are not registered and although they write exams, these are not marked. This helps the province secure a good matric pass rate as only learners that are expected to succeed are evaluated.

The DA finds this situation deplorable and it is appalling that the department dashes the hopes and aspirations of young people in such a manner. Education officials are mandated to guide, advise and assist youngsters who are desperately trying to get an education.

In view of this, MEC Reginah Mhaule must explain why the four learners were allowed to Grade 12 throughout the year during which they wrote tests and exams. She must also explain why the learners received reports signed by the principal and why they appeared on the Grade 12 class registers, yet are now not permitted to register to write their finals.

The DA will also write to the Public Protector asking her to expand the investigation into all schools in the province and call for an inquiry into the rumoured A and B lists.