Swaziland
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MINISTER REVEALS WHY SA STOPPED MATRIC EXAMS

SITEKI – South Africa’s Matric examination is not for sale!

Minister of Education and Training Lady Mabuza has explained the stance taken by the South African Department of Basic Education in stopping local Matric pupils from sitting their exams. This follows a communiqué from Umalusi, which is the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education in South Africa. Mabuza said the government of South Africa (SA) has made it clear that they would not entertain Eswatini on this subject matter for quite a number of reasons. She said one of the reasons was that the Matric examination was free in SA, yet local private schools charged E2 600 as examination fee per pupil. “They complained that the local private schools offering Matric were charging exorbitant fees for the examinations, yet it was free in South Africa,” the minister said.

Worth noting is that the future of at least 603 Eswatini pupils doing Matric hangs in the balance, after the South African Department of Basic Education stopped them from sitting their examination this year. The minister said the legal committee that was dispatched by the SA government to engage Eswatini highlighted that they were not happy to allow their Matric examination papers to cross their borders, as it was risky due to the fact that the papers might be leaked. She said they pointed out that it would be costly to set another paper, considering the population of pupils in South Africa. The Mafutseni Member of Parliament (MP) stated that the local schools offering Matric should devise a plan on how they would ensure that the pupils eventually sat the Matric examinations.

She mentioned that government had failed, after countless efforts, to engage with SA Minister of Basic Eduction Angie Motshekga. “I tried everything in my power to engage Minister Angie on this matter but I hit a wall. The legal team sent by the South African government complained that the local private schools charge exorbitant fees for the Matric exams, yet they are free of charge in South Africa. They told us that the private schools were making a killing through the charges of the fees for the Matric examination. They also talked about the risks associated with crossing the papers into our borders as they might be leaked. These are some of the reasons they highlighted during that meeting,” she said.

Future

The minister further mentioned that it was unfortunate that the future of the pupils was at stake, yet the schools were told to stop admitting them for the Matric examinations in time. “I hope a solution will be found soon by the owners of these schools,” Mabuza said. The local centre, U-Tech High, normally hosts Matric exams for pupils from 10 schools locally, namely; Milestone, Mbalenhle Academy, Diamond Valley, Harrolds, Pro-Learning and Phumelela. The rest are Hillside, Wem, Bookville and the host (U-Tech High). U-Tech High School Head teacher Boy Khumalo said they were working around the clock to find a lasting solution to the matter. “For now, we are doing something but we will announce any developments in due course,” he briefly said.