The current matriculants who were registered to write pure mathematics on Monday were met with the harsh realities of the second paper which saw them writing an unsolvable maths problem. This led to many students expressing their frustrations at the whole paper as a result of that.

The video below shows different approaches and assumptions that students might have attempted in answering the question. Check it out below:

“When one writes an exam at that level, one does not expect to find such a question as we trust that these questions are first checked by many people”, one student commented. Another student expressed the disappointment at the paper due to the time she lost trying to get the answer write and at the end did not finish the whole exam.

Speaking to the Department of Basic Education, spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga did express that the matter was still under investigation and that they will get to the bottom of the matter. He was quick to defend the exam paper however stating the processes and procedures in place when such an issue happens.

“There are concerns that have been raised by different people, some have spoken to me directly and on other platforms. We have recorded it for thorough investigation and until such time relevant committees have sat down to study the question paper and make a declaration of an error, I am not in a position to say that.”

He further assured the students and the public that in no way will the students be negatively affected by the error should there be any. He stated that the department will remove the question and adjust the total marks. Markers will be told to ignore that question.

“For example, if the paper was out of 100 and the question was work 10 marks, the exam would instead be marked out of 90.”

Teachers expressed disappointment at the whole paper stating that the paper was very difficult for learners to navigate through. They were quick to re-iterate that this group of matriculants is the most affected group by Covid 19 which saw them have two years of interrupted classes since the outbreak of Covid 19 in 2020.

“These kids were not in school for most of their two years of schooling due to Covid 19 lockdowns and today they are writing a maths paper that is so difficult one wonders if they will make it in this exam”, one teacher expressed.

The Department of Basic Education Minister Engie Motshekga announced probe findings into the impossible matric maths question  and the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa)’s spokesperson Basil Manuel assured pupils they need not panic.

“It is a small error and I certainly hope the minister is going to give an indication that the pupils will be given the benefit of the doubt. We hope that what the minister will say will bring some calm to the situation,” Manuel said.

After talking to some Maths experts, one expressed the disappointment at the quality assurer Umalusi on how this grade 12 Mathematics Paper 2 paper managed to get undictated of the error. They expressed that even though it is seven marks of the question, it affects the whole paper at the end of the day and how will the quality assurer Umalusi factor that in.

In analysis of the impossible to solve Maths Grade 12 paper 2 question 5.1, the error was more of a typo error it seems. Instead of the question having a minus between sinx and 3, there was a plus sign. The video below shows possible solutions that the leaners might have tried to answer. The video shows possible approaches and explanations on each approach. Watch the video below: