matric exam pledge debbie schafer

Photo: Supplied.

‘Cheating is not worth it!’: Matric learners and parents will be required to sign these forms ahead of exams

WC Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said matric learners will be required to sign a ‘commitment’ and pledge before writing their final exams. This comes after cheating scandals nearly led to a rewrite last year.

matric exam pledge debbie schafer

Photo: Supplied.

The Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer issued a stern warning to Grade 12 learners ahead of the final matric exams. Schäfer said cheating is not worth it, referring to the cheating scandal that rocked the country in 2020 and nearly led to a rewrite of certain National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam papers.


The 2020 matric class was on the verge of rewriting Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Sciences Paper 2 after the papers were leaked in November before the exams were written. However, the Gauteng High Court stepped in and set aside the decision made by the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

“Last year, a serious National Senior Certificate exam leak almost led to the rewriting of certain matric exams across the country. This illustrates just how much damage leaking and cheating can do, with far-reaching consequences not just for the learners involved, but many others too,” said Schäfer.

According to the MEC, there were no incidents of mass cheating in the Western Cape during the November 2020 NSC exams. However, 17 candidates were disqualified for cheating – seven of them were in possession of crib notes and 10 were caught in possession of cellphones.

“Being caught cheating has very serious repercussions for the learner. If found guilty, they could be disqualified from the exam, and even be barred from writing one to three subsequent examinations,” said Schäfer.

Criminal prosecution is also a possibility if the candidate was involved in the leakage of an examination question paper.

“These consequences completely outweigh any perceived benefit to cheating. It is simply not worth it,” said the MEC.


Schäfer said all matric exam candidates – and their parents – will be required to sign a “Commitment” that lays down all the rules of the exams and lists what the consequences are for breaking them.

“It also explains that learners who are aware of irregular activities occurring (including leaked papers or questions), but fail to report it, will be considered to have colluded in the cheating.

“The candidates then sign the NSC Exam Pledge, a voluntary pledge to behave responsibly during the exams and to follow the rules.”

The MEC said after signing the commitment and pledge learners and parents cannot claim to know that they did not know it was against the rules to be in possession of unauthorised material, cell phones or to engage in any other irregular behaviour.

Schäfer added that forgetfulness – referring to carrying cellphones – will also not be tolerated. “Our matrics are old enough to take responsibility for their actions, and old enough to make sure that they follow the rules of the exams. Parents, too, have a responsibility to discuss these matters with their children, and make sure that they understand that infringements will have serious consequences.”

National Senior Certificate Examination Pledge