The DA wrote to the quality assurance body, Umalusi, to request an invitation to the annual standardisation meeting on the Matric results 2017, but have been denied access to this vital meeting. Umalusi CEO, Dr Mafu Ramoketsi, even went as far as demanding that we do not contact him directly but that any communication with Umalusi take place through the Minister of Basic Education.
Our MPs have a constitutional obligation to conduct oversight and will, therefore, communicate with any public entity.
Moreover, the entire Portfolio Committee on Basic Education has been denied access, despite this having been the practice in previous years, and it appears to be a move aimed at preventing MPs from carrying out their constitutional duty of oversight.
Umalusi holds a statistical moderation stakeholder meeting that occurs just before Christmas for each year of matric results.
The DA has therefore written to Dr Ramoketsi, asking him to revise his position on the matter – his current refusal is completely at odds with Umalusi’s stated commitment to transparency.
We have also written to the Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, to ask her to intervene and ensure that sufficient oversight of this very important process takes place.
Umalusi is a public entity that falls under the Department of Basic Education and its refusal to allow oversight sets a terrible example for other public entities.
They have claimed this is because their reports to Parliament are sufficient to satisfy oversight requirements, and that anything further than that will threaten a separation of powers – a dramatic turnaround from previous years.
Public entities are subject to oversight by public representatives because citizens have a vested interest in their work – it is not up to a public entity to determine what constitutes official oversight.
Last year, the DA asked completely legitimate questions about the number of subjects that had their average marks adjusted upwards during the standardisation process. We believe this points to a problem somewhere in the education system and that a clear explanation of the need for these adjustments should be presented.
South African matric learners and their parents must have confidence in their results and qualifications – and in order to do so, their elected representatives must be free to fulfil their oversight role. We call on Umalusi to rethink their decision not to invite MPs to the standardisation meeting for the sake of our matriculants.