The Minister of Basic Education announced on Friday that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) has decided to discontinue the Multiple Examination Opportunity Policy (MOE) with effect from 2020.

How does NAPTOSA feel about the announcement? Strangely, whilst, on the one hand, understanding the reason for the announcement, we are, on the other, also saddened to see a policy that had the potential to do some good in the lives of certain learners being scrapped.

In the Minister’s own words the MOE “…is being used by some schools as a gatekeeping mechanism…” whereby learners who could potentially negatively influence the matric pass rate of a school are being convinced to rather do the multiple exams.

NAPTOSA has formally expressed its concern about the widespread abuse of the MOE policy, but called for a more stringent application of the policy, NOT its cancellation. We find it absolutely absurd that the MECs who have now decided to scrap the policy are the ones who, in the first place, allowed the abuse of the policy in their respective provinces. Why did they not ensure its proper application?

This is a sad indictment of our education system. A Department that implements a policy without monitoring its application and, when it becomes aware of the abuse of the policy, takes the easy route of discontinuing the policy rather than taking action against the very abusers of the policy. Furthermore, some Principals and schools who sacrifice their integrity in the interest of the matric pass rate “obsession” – an “obsession” created by their master the Department of Basic Education.

It is extremely sad that those learners who could have benefitted from the MOE policy, will now be left without a remedy and possibly drop out of school without attempting to write matric. It is once again an example of how the abuse by some can undermine the greater good.

NAPTOSA calls on the CEM to reconsider its decision; to demand greater refinement of the policy by the DBE; to ensure that those learners who genuinely qualify to write multiple exams, receive the necessary support; and to ensure that stringent action be taken against abusers of the policy.