Zimsec in need of self-introspection

HARARE - For several years now, the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) has been mired in a series of controversies involving examination paper leaks, placing its credibility into the spotlight.

During the 2017 examination session, examination papers for several subjects reportedly leaked. It defies logic how such an important body is failing to put foolproof security measures that will not allow examinations materials to fall into the wrong hands.

Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavhima on Thursday announced that government arrived at the decision to cancel the English Paper II examination and order a re-sit within seven days owing to the scale of the leakage.

Some honest candidates who had adequately prepared for the 2017 session and had probably passed the particular component may now be disadvantaged during the rewriting.

Cheating in examinations should never be condoned as it compromises results. Also, those who pass through cheating get a false endorsement when results are announced.

The national examinations body, which is responsible for all examinations in primary and secondary schools, should have made students re-write the examination much earlier other than to wait for over three months.

The security of examinations materials must be a top priority for Zimsec. But how can this be guaranteed when heads of the country’s over 2 000 examination centres collect the papers from their regional offices and henceforth; the onus is on them to ensure safe delivery and safe-keeping of the papers at the centres until the day they are written?

Some of these heads may not have their own transport and rely on public transport like buses, a situation that reflects very badly when such crucial documents are thrown and transported on bus rooftops.

In 2011, a headmaster on his way from collecting papers in Chinhoyi back to his rural school in Hurungwe decided to put some passengers on the truck only for one of the passengers to disembark, taking with him a pack of examination papers. The head only discovered upon arrival at the school that the papers had gone missing.

Another headmaster in 2012 put the papers on the roof of a bus from Bulawayo and discovered they were missing on reaching his destination.

The latest boob will obviously leave a dent on Zimsec’s credibility. It will cost schools, parents and candidates heavily, the examinations body must do heavy internal cleansing of its systems — right up to the centres, plugging all possible loopholes.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.