Media asked not to publish matric results [UPDATE]

The basic education department on Monday told media houses they were not allowed to publish the latest matric results, citing the POPI Act. File photo.
Picture: VELI NHLAPO

Matric results will no longer be allowed to be published by media houses, according to a briefing held by department of basic education minister Angie Motshekga on Tuesday.

According to Motshekga, the decision was made in order to ensure compliance with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), which came into effect in July last year.

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

“All learners will be required to obtain their statements of results from their respective schools. In this way, every learner’s personal information with regards to the outcomes of the 2021 NSC exams will be protected.”

The 2021 NSC exam results are scheduled to be released next week.

Registration for the 2022 rewrite examinations, which begain in October 2021, are still open and pupils have until February 15 to register.

During that same briefing, Motshekga said the department was collaborating with various stakeholders to ensure the safety of students in the new academic year.

All learners will be required to obtain their statements of results from their respective schools. In this way, every learner’s personal information with regards to the outcomes of the 2021 NSC exams will be protected.

“We are exploring possibilities to return schooling to normal, but we need to do so responsibly; and to this end, we rely entirely on the advice of public health experts, through the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC), the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), and indeed cabinet.
“At the right time, we will come back to report on progress being made.”

Motshekga also said that the department was finalising a proposed overhaul of the national history curriculum for grades 4 to 12.

“The topics for grades 4 to 9 have been finalized and topics for grades 10 to 12 will be refined and finalised this year.

“There were consultations held by the MTT (Ministerial Task Team) with a reference team of history teachers and curriculum advisors in 2019 and 2021, on the proposed topics, concepts, skills and forms of assessment that must be included in the revised History curriculum.

“Broader consultations with relevant stakeholders will be conducted during this year, and will be followed by the submission of the draft revised History curriculum to Umalusi for evaluation and appraisal, to determine if the revised history curriculum meets the curriculum development and design standards.”

UPDATE

The Information Regulator released a statement on Thursday clarifying its position on DBE’s decision.

According to the regulator, the department has a duty to ensure that matriculatns are able to receive their results in an appropriate manner.

“With regards to POPIA, a responsible party such as the DBE, is empowered to decide how to bring its actions or decisions in compliance with POPIA,” the regulator said.

“In this case, the regulator will assess any decision regarding the publication of matric results based on the provision of POPIA.”

Under POPIA, the DBE is empowered to decide the best way to bring itself in compliance with the Act, although the regulator said they are willing to assess any decision regarding the publication of matric results.

A responsible party such as the DBE, is empowered to decide how to bring its actions or decisions in compliance with POPIA

“POPIA makes provision for such eventuality under clear rules for safeguarding of the personal information, which is the cardinal principle. These rules include, for example, a requirement for agreement between the department and a dissemination platform prescribing how that platform should process the personal information.

“Such an agreement should bind the platform on processing personal information in terms of POPIA, with a specific requirement for safeguarding of personal information supplied to the dissemination platform.

In instances where personal information related to results being disseminated, POPIA would also require that the matriculants be advised of such an intention to disseminate the information and be advised of their right to object to such dissemination of information.

“Once a matriculant, or a competent adult acting on their behalf, has objected to dissemination of their information, the department and dissemination platform have an obligation to ensure that such personal information is deleted from the record before it is disseminated.”

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