The Pretoria high court has ruled that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) must publish matric results on all public platforms.
Last week, DBE announced that it will no longer publish the results in the media as has been the practice in previous years.
“In order to comply with the provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), the usual practice of publishing the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results on public platforms (media platforms) will not occur for 2021,” the Department said.
“As was also the practice in previous years, all learners will be required to obtain their statement of results from the schools they attended. In this way, every learner’s personal information with regards to the outcome of their National Senior Certificate exam will be protected.”
Matric results 2021 must be published on public platforms
However, lobby group AfriForum, Maroela Media and a 2021 matriculant Anlé Spies challenged the decision in court and the Department chose not to oppose their application.
On Tuesday (18 January), Judge Anthony Millar reversed the DBE’s decision and ordered it to publish matric results on all public platforms.
In his order, Millar said not every learner has access to the internet, adding that some learners no longer live in the area where their high school was located. These learners might therefore not access their results in time to prepare their applications to higher education institutions.
The Judge further ruled that the publication of results should not reflect the learners’ first names and surnames. This means that the normal practice of using the unique exam number remains.
The ruling has already elicited reactions from members of the public. In an interview with SABC News, AfriForum’s Kallie Kriel said the ruling is a “victory” for all stakeholders involved, especially the 2021 matriculants.
However, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela raised concerns about the “privacy and mental health” of matriculants.
“For whose gain? I’m uncertain that publishing matric results is good, fair and just to the matriculants whose privacy and mental health are more important than the entertainment and financial gain that accrues from publishing results,” she tweeted.
“If publishing matric results is about transparency and public accountability for tracking the performance of our education system, then we can publish the data without the names or student numbers of learners.”
The Department has indicated that it will abide by the ruling.