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South Africa: Bungle over exam has pupils & teachers fuming

Eastern Cape Education Department superintendent-general Dave Edley yesterday promised an investigation to discover how the province published the wrong date for the matric supplementary examinations.

"This is a very serious matter to the department, I'm not going to let it pass by, not until someone explains why these dates were published without being checked - I've ordered an investigation." he said. Edley's statement follows the Eastern Cape Education Department’s distribution this year of planners with incorrect dates for the supplementary exams. The exams - held for those who failed or who were unable to write matric exams for other reasons - start on 13th February instead of on March 1 as published. More than 14000 pupils are affected by the date mix-up. Teachers' unions and pupils have called for the rescheduling of the exams as a result of the mistake, but Edley ruled out any possibility of shifting the exams to a later date. "A number of subjects (11) are national papers. It will be impossible to delay the exam," he said. In any case, he claimed, most teachers and pupils were aware when sups were written. "For the past three or four years these exams were written mid-February. Everybody should know by now. "Pupils should have been preparing for the exams already and the announcement of the exact exam date should come as no shock." he said. But EI affiliate the South African Democratic Teachers' Union provincial spokesperson, Mxolisi Dimaza, said he found it strange that Edley was shifting the blame for the mistake. "Why did the department apologise in the first place? How did we know that exams start on March 1? It was through an official document. It's their mistake. Edley must stop shifting the blame."