Giant fail: matric exam markers caught drunk on job
What happens to examiners who hit the bottle? Eight of them found out
The matric exams have no doubt been stressful for the thousands who sat for – hopefully – their final tests as high school pupils.
But five matric markers were sent home with an epic fail on their report cards after arriving at marking venues drunk.
While all five have been dismissed, another three were asked to leave for the day after reeking of alcohol.
Three markers from the Rustenburg High, Vryburg High and Sannieshof marking centres in North West, and two from marking venues in the Eastern Cape have been given their walking papers.
One of the three dismissed markers from North West was found with a cooler box full of alcohol.
In the Eastern Cape police had to be summoned to forcibly remove a drunk marker from a marking venue after he refused to leave.
Western Cape education department spokesperson Bronagh Casey confirmed that three markers, who arrived smelling of alcohol at the marking centre for the pre-marking process last Monday, were asked to leave. They returned the following morning after sobering up.
A total of 44,505 markers have been appointed across the country at 141 marking centres.
A marker who was based at Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High in KwaZulu-Natal died at the centre last Tuesday as a result of an illness, while the child of a marker from the Northern Cape also passed away.
Another marker from the Northern Cape was sent home after falling ill.
Northern Cape education department spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said the marking of the civil technology paper had been completed as there were not too many candidates writing the paper.
Markers at one of the three marking centres in the Northern Cape had to finish marking at 6pm instead of 8pm because of load shedding.
Adjustments had to be made to the marking schedule to compensate for the lost time. “Since then load shedding has been during the daytime and has had no impact.”
North West education department spokesperson Freddy Sepeng said load shedding had affected marking and that they had to adjust their schedules as a result.
“Some marking centres have generators as a back-up.”
Basic education department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the director-general, Mathanzima Mweli, had also noted that load shedding was delaying the process of capturing marks.
Mweli would be addressing these concerns with Eskom.
Meanwhile, Eastern Cape education department spokesperson Mali Mtima said parents from Adelaide in the province had demanded their children be employed as exam assistants although they did not apply for these jobs.
The matter had since been resolved.
The Western Cape education department has been the only one among the nine to successfully give competency tests to markers before employing them.
Casey said the system was introduced in 2011 to improve the standard of marking.
“The competency tests are developed with the aim of assessing the teacher/subject officials’ knowledge of the subject, marking skills, and also skills in the development and application of the [marking] memorandum.
“Competency tests in the province were conducted for 11 subjects.
Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona said the stringent measures put in place have prevented markers from misbehaving, and marking has been progressing well.
Mpumalanga education department spokesperson Jasper Zwane said the province is expected to finish marking by Friday, while his Free State counterpart, Howard Ndaba, said they were hoping to finish by Saturday.
Zwane said that alcohol was strictly prohibited at marking venues and that gates were locked at 8pm and opened at 4am.
“We have not experienced any challenges with regard to compliance.”
Limpopo’s education department said its marking was progressing very well.
KwaZulu-Natal’s education department did not respond to media queries.
Besides officials from the national and provincial education departments, marking was being closely monitored by matric exam watchdog Umalusi and teacher unions.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga will announce the matric results on January 3.