Fight over matric marks in South Africa

Issues surrounding the publication of South Africa’s matric marks are expected to be heard in court this week after the Department of Basic Education announced the marks will not be made publically available due to regulatory concerns.

In a statement on Tuesday (11 January), the Department of Basic Education said that matric exam results will no longer be published on media platforms, in line with the recently introduced Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).

The department said that publishing personal information online would be a contravention of the Act. It confirmed that matric results are still scheduled to release on 21 January 2022 and that results would still be available from schools. Historically, the matric results have been made widely available with students identified through their ID numbers or exam numbers.

“In order to comply with the provisions of the POPIA, the usual practice of publishing the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results on public platforms (media platforms) will not occur for 2021,” it said.

“As was also the practice in previous years, all learners will be required to obtain their statement of results from the schools they attended. In this way, every learner’s personal information with regards to the outcome of their National Senior Certificate exam will be protected.”

Legal challenge 

Civil society group AfriForum, Maroela Media and Anlé Spies (a 2021 matriculant) served court papers on Friday (14 January) to oppose the Department of Basic Education’s sudden decision not to publish the 2021 matric results in the media on an urgent basis in court.

Spies, who sat her exams in Pretoria but lives in Gqeberha, is arguing that it is critically important that she receive her results as quickly as possible so that she can prepare for the start of her university career. She argues that there are several learners who moved or relocated to addresses far away from the schools where they sat their matric exams.

The Department of Basic Education has said that it will not oppose the urgent application and will abide by the decision of the court.

The urgent application will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on 18 January before the matric results are made available on 20 January 2022.


Read: Matric results will not be published publicly in South Africa – what you should know

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Fight over matric marks in South Africa