The Department of Basic Education has announced that the annual matric exam results will no longer be published on media platforms. This is in line with the recently introduced Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).

***Editor’s Comment: Since the introduction of this new act, I have personally experienced a drastic increase in the number of automated sales messages and phone calls from call centres “on behalf of my bank”. Clearly this new act was not as much a deterrent as it was a challenge.

This has in turn caused the department to be slammed by the media industry, describing the government’s decision as absurd. In a statement, the department said that publishing personal information online would be a contravention of the POPI Act, although, traditionally, the matric results were made widely available with students identified through their ID numbers.

To comply with the provisions of the POPIA, the usual practice of publishing the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results on public platforms will therefore not occur for 2021.

“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,” the department said in a statement.

For two years in a row, matric results were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which interrupted teaching, the school timetable, learning, and the release of results. Last year results for the class of 2020 were released two months into the year, on the 23rd February and this year they will only be published on 21 January 2022.