Zero improvement at KZN school caught in cheating scandal
Mpikayizekanye was one of nine in KZN that got a 0% matric pass rate – but other cheating-accused schools did well
After Mpikayizekanye Secondary School in Tugela Ferry in central KwaZulu-Natal was accused of being the worst offender in a group-copying scandal, pupils’ parents were so angry that they padlocked the school gate and refused to let the school’s principal or teachers back in.
This was in 2015, with Mpikayizekanye central in a cheating scandal that rocked South Africa on the eve of the release of the class of 2014 matric results.
It was alleged that pupils at the school, with the aid of their teachers, participated in “group copying”.
A meeting attended by parents and local villagers was told that a traditional healer had been brought in to sprinkle muthi on the school’s premises just before the exams to bewitch external monitors.
Anger was palpable among parents and villagers. Referring to the decades-long faction fighting that is synonymous with the area of Msinga where the school is located, one angry parent let rip: “This is what we should have died for in Msinga: our children’s education.”
Anger aside, and while the cheating saga drags on, the school itself has show zero sign of improvement. Literally zero.
The school was among nine schools in the province that recorded a 0% pass rate in the 2018 matric results, while some of the schools that were also implicated in the cheating scandal have recorded some improvement.
In 2014 the school achieved 43.56%, a dismal 1.45% in 2015, another dismal 8.33% in 2016 and 13.16% in 2017.
And in 2018, none of the 18 pupils who wrote the exams passed.
Another school implicated the 2014 cheating scandal, Mashiyamahle Secondary School in Verulam, north of Durban, is still fighting the allegations in court as the implicated pupils – with the backing of principal Zachias Ntazi – are adamant they did not cheat.
The school recorded a 77% pass rate in 2018, a decline from the 89.61% it achieved in 2017 and 92.49% in 2016. In 2014, Mashiyamahle achieved 86.76% but dropped to 74.07% in 2015.
In December 2018 the basic education department requested, in a statement, that the class of 2014 at Mashiyamahle collect their matric certificates from Ilembe district offices in KwaDukuza, but some of the pupils canvassed by Times Select had refused to do so.
One of them, Mthobisi Ntethe, said he would prefer to get his results from the lawyer who represented the school in the fight against the cheating allegations.
The department has accused pupils of being hostile and refusing to co-operate with officials during the investigation of the copying scandal.
Ntazi has since been suspended on allegations of inciting pupils and the community against the department.
Matshitsholo High School in the Zululand district, another school implicated in the group-copying scandal, notched up an impressive 84.62% in 2018, from 46% in 2017, a dismal 13% in 2016 and 2.65% in 2015. In 2014, the school achieved 45.71%.
The rural school, in Denny Dalton near Ulundi, made headlines in 2016 when angry parents took coffins from a local funeral parlour and placed them at the school in protest against lazy teachers. When teachers arrived at the school they were greeted by gatvol parents and three coffins.
They accused teachers of gambling with their children’s education and threatened to remove them. The angry parents also threatened to bury the teachers alive if the department did not take action.