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Emotions ran high at Regolotswe High School in Itsoseng, near Lichtenburg, when 480 pupils in Grades 10 and 11 were called in to return their report cards because their marks had been wrongly altered by a new computer system.
When the school released the final-year report cards on December 7 pupils were surprised to find that most of them had failed and that the cards had subjects they had not studied.
In one Grade 10 class, all the pupils had failed and all had received the same marks and levels in every subject. Their dates of birth and names were also incorrect.
Principal Leon Mmonaditshaba Maja yesterday blamed the mess on the school's new data capturing system.
After a meeting of parents, the school governing body and the North West department of education, the reports were revised .
Education area manager of the Ditsobotla local municipality, Wiseman Sokhupha, apologised to both parents and pupils and admitted the department had made a mistake.
He said before verification, 29 Grade 10 pupils had passed but after verification the number changed to 47 out of a total of 287 learners. It showed that a total of 240 pupils had failed. In Grade 11, 74 pupils had passed before verification. After verification it showed that 113 had passed out of a total 195 pupils.
Grade 10 pupil Ntswaki Mooki could not suppress her tears on finding out she had passed.
"I studied hard. So I found it strange that I had failed. I am relieved and very excited," she said.
Boingotlo Mothelesi, 17 and in Grade 10, said she had hoped for a pass but had failed.
Gomolemo Monaisa said she received two report cards in June. According to one she had passed and the other showed she had failed.
The provincial education department's Gershwin Chuenyane said when the problems came to light the results were verified -both electronically and manually.
"Parents and learners accepted the results. Those who did not succeed were informed that they would be given an opportunity to repeat the grade," Chuenyane said.
MEC for education Louisa Mabe has asked for a thorough investigation into the matter when schools reopen next year. - firstname.lastname@example.org