By Victor Maphosa
ZIMBABWE Schools Examination Council (Zi) has confirmed that 12 “independent candidates” unduly accessed the Ordinary Level Mathematics Paper 1 question paper and have since been reported to the police. The national schools examination body said yesterday some of the culprits have appeared before the courts.
“We do not take anything for granted. It is in this context that a dozen largely independent candidates had undue access to the Ordinary Level Mathematics Paper 1 question paper and fortunately, the culprits have been presented to the courts with high prospects for conviction and sentencing in the course of the week,” said Zimsec.
“Zimsec would like to assure its partners in the fight against examination malpractice that it carries out investigations based on credible information given to it.” The new revelations puts a stain on Zimsec director Mr Esau Nhandara’s recent assurance that exam leakages were now a thing of the past. Speaking at the unveiling of the parastatal’s new board in the capital on October 20, Mr Nhandara said the council has done everything “humanly possible” to prevent leakages. “As Zimsec, we have done everything to prevent leakages. We don’t work alone, but we work very closely with the parent ministry and the community,” said Mr Nhandara then
“I believe we have had a very successful examination period and I refer to the recently finished Grade Seven exams where there was no leakage. We are now in the middle of the O and A-Level examinations and I want to believe that there is no leakage worth talking about there. I am not a prophet, who knows everything, but I want to assure the public that Zimsec, through its system, has done everything humanly possible to prevent leakages,” he said.
Meanwhile, the national examination body said it continues to record an increase in the number of candidates sitting for its Grade Seven, Ordinary-Level and Advanced-Level examinations. This, Zimsec contends, demonstrates the confidence that learners and stakeholders have in national examinations.
Candidates sitting for Advanced Levels exams rose 19 percent this year to 50 130 from 41 970 last year, while O-Level candidates increased by 18 percent to 354 866 from 299 657 in 2016.
However, there was a marginal 2,3 percent jump in Grade Seven candidates to 367 888 from 359 452 registered a year earlier. Zimsec believes that the growing trend puts paid to rumours that more learners prefer external examination agencies to the local body.
“Any talk of massive use of external examination agencies is just that: a mere talk as the numbers are so significant in the light of the figures recorded,” reads part of the statement. The body commended school heads, invigilators, cluster centres, candidates, honest members of the society and the media for buttressing its efforts to curb examination malpractices.
Any malpractices, Zimsec said, will be investigated. According to the State-owned entity, members of the public should be wary of fake examination papers and fake answer sheets that are in circulation. The Herald