The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Sunday News Reporter
THE Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) will deregister schools and examination centres complicit in the leakage of examination papers while the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education will deal with headmasters who will be fingered in the malpractices that threaten to bring the country’s education sector into disrepute.
The stiff measures by Zimsec come after 5 156 Advanced and Ordinary level candidates’ results were nullified for having pre-access to examination papers in the October to December 2022 national examinations, with suspicion that some school heads made the papers available to candidates before the exams.
The A-Level results were released on 13 January with Zimsec withholding results for 195 candidates while the ‘O’ Levels ones, where results for 4 961 candidates were nullified, came out on Friday.
Zimsec board chairperson Professor Eddie Mwenje told Sunday News yesterday that the examination body was committed to upholding the integrity of the country’s examination system and any deviant behaviour will be met with severe punishment.
“As you might be aware, there are some headmasters that are alleged to have opened examination papers. If that was a distribution centre, it means it would receive papers before the date of the examination, we will deregister them from being a centre.
Also, if it comes out that the administration there was involved, the Ministry (of Primary and Secondary Education) will take the necessary action.”
Prof Mwenje said after the compilation of the list they will have a clear picture of how many examination centres were complicit in the examination malpractice and they will be de-registered, which means they will cease to be distribution centres and will not administer Zimsec examinations.
“Centres have to register and qualify to administer Zimsec examinations. They have to adhere to Zimsec principles. If they fail to adhere, we simply deregister them, they will have proved their unsuitability and if the headmaster is corrupt, we do not have the capacity to remove them because we do not employ them, their employer will deal with them.
If these are private schools we just say until you put your things in order you cannot be a centre, so the students have to write the examinations somewhere else.”
Zimsec director Dr Lazarus Nembabware concurred with Prof Mwenje.
“You would appreciate that results have just come out. We are therefore in the process of fact-gathering to identify all examination centres that were complicit in the examination malpractice. When our investigations are done, we will name them and deregister them,” said Dr Nembabware.
He, however, could not be drawn into mentioning the timelines but hinted that it should be before the next national examinations.
“I cannot give you a specific time-frame because after we are done with the process, we take our work to the examination committee which is responsible for the examination which then recommends to the main board what action should be taken, but of course most of the centres who leaked examination papers will be deregistered.”
He added that Zimsec was committed to ensuring that all leakages of examination papers were plugged out and would do everything in its power to tighten its security systems.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education director of communications and advocacy, Mr Taungana Ndoro applauded Zimsec for putting measures in place to tighten security and improve the manner in which examinations in the country were handled.
“We are behind Zimsec. We want them to do their job without interference. Let them investigate and bring out their findings and we will advise on our recommendations,” he said.