Something is wrong in Mpumalanga

THERE is clearly something amiss with the way in which the Mpumalanga department of education handles matric exams.

It cannot just be coincidental that over the past few years the province's matric exams have been riddled with exam paper leaks, inflating of results and other irregularities.

The current saga surrounding the 2009 Mpumalanga matric results is one of many such ills that have been a regular feature in the province's matric exams.

The following are some of the irregularities that beset Mpumalanga:

In 2008 approximately 700 pupils were reported to have cheated in exams.

In 2004 Umalusi released an investigation report that stated that irregular practices took place at 10 examination centres out of a total of 587 centres. Some results were withheld.

Following the reflection of a general below-par performance of the Mpumalanga Grade 12 learners in their 2001 examinations, then MEC for education Craig Padayachee instituted a series of drastic measurers to ensure an improved performance at the end of 2002.

In 1998 an employee of the Middelburg education department was arrested after a probe into the matric results

Again in 1998, Mpumalanga made headlines when it had inflated its 72% pass rate by 20%.

The province's education department needs to be thoroughly investigated so that these corrupt practices can be uprooted for good.

These incidents and bad publicity don't only disadvantage hardworking and innocent matriculants but also help create negative stereotypes about Mpumalanga matriculants.

Emmanuel Matsebatlela, Pretoria