It is cause for serious concern when oversight body Umalusi confirms that 14 schools across South Africa are being investigated for group copying in examinations.
Perhaps we should look beyond the consequences of cheating and instead examine the pressures on undereducated pupils, undertrained teachers and underfunded schools to take so drastic a step.
They are immense: fail to get a passing mark – dumbed down to the bare minimum percentages in the eyes of the cynics; ensure among the teachers that average pass marks measure up to expectations; and that schools without the essential infrastructure function.
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A pattern emerges. In some ways, this is a distorted mirror of our society which has become inured to corruption and taking shortcuts in any number of facets of life in our country.
A matric certificate opens new doors and is deemed essential towards securing future opportunities and provide the openings for future employment in a stagnant market.
If the Umalusi investigations reveal that cheating on an organised scale has been overlooked or encouraged – and we sincerely hope that this is not the case – we are all weakened as a nation.