Toughen penalties for exam leaks: Zimsec

HARARE - Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) has appealed to parliamentarians to enact a law meting sterner punishment to individuals who leak examination papers.

This comes as the internationally accredited examinations board will soon install a multi-purpose state-of-the-art printing press that will allow Zimsec to print exam papers internally, instead of outsourcing.

Zimsec director Esau Nhandara told parliamentarians yesterday during a tour of their Norton printing press that the parastatal was doing all it could to curb leakages but could do with assistance from government.

“It would help us to get national security status in the same line as the army. It’s just that when people look at Zimsec, they see it in the light of examinations, but in terms of its operations, they affect the entire nation, not just now but for the future,” Nhandara said.

He said they have had to pay police to oversee the transportation of examination papers to their intended cluster centres.

In three instances last year, thieves descended on police officers who were guarding examination papers and were dispossessed of their guns, Nhandara said, calling for stiffer penalties against such malcontents.

Zimsec was putting up a system that would allow them to send questions from head office electronically to the printer, he said.

“We are tendering an e-locking system; what that does is that it traces the movement of the question papers where they are going at each particular time,” he said.

“We are hoping to introduce it this year for the three papers that usually leak at Ordinary Level — English, Maths and Integrated Science.”

Nhandara appealed to legislators to lobby the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe so that they can be prioritised in the allocation of forex.

“Our hope is that once we have finished paying for the hardware, which is $3,1 million by end of April, the hardware will be delivered here by the supplier and then it will require three months to set up.

“So our hope is come August, September, we can start printing using that printing press.”

Police provide security, guarding Zimsec’s fleet of vehicles.

The exams body also wanted to be self-sufficient, able to do electronic marking, security, and running their own printing press.

“For ‘O’ Level, we have gone the electronic marking way.

“Right now, we are marking 50 percent electronically, and we are hoping to complete the other 50 percent in the next two years . . . So there won’t be as much exams to be moved, they will be marked at centres,” Nhandara said.

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