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FOR the umpteenth time, the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) is caught up in yet another vortex of examination paper leaks as pupils sit for the 2023 Ordinary and Advanced Level tests.
Last year’s examination paper leaks were so massive that they set a record as probably the worst in the country’s history. One would have thought that this time around, we would hear nothing about the embarrassing scam.
But lo and behold, paper leaks have resurfaced, which probably means that Zimsec did not do enough homework to plug and end the scourge once and for all. Last year, the leakages were said to have been traced to Zimsec itself, meaning that the organisation should have tightened screws and made sure that security is tight all round from its offices right down to the examination centres.
Zimsec said it was investigating the matter, but some stakeholders have since made some valid and interesting points about this issue.
Zimbabwe National Union of School Heads secretary-general Munyaradzi Majoni said despite stakeholders having recommended various measures to help the examinations body curb leakages, it appears Zimsec was not warming up to the idea of working together with others in fighting the scourge.
If this is true then Zimsec can as well forget about stopping the rot and by choosing to go it alone it is simply exposing itself to being accused of complicity.
Majoni is right in pointing out that: “It requires a collaborative effort for all the stakeholders to come up with a solid solution on how we can stop the cheating, fraud and leakages.” Zimsec should swallow its pride and rope in others to banish this bane which is bringing the country’s academic integrity into disrepute.
Progressive Teachers Association of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe also highlighted another dimension to the challenge saying “the invigilation process is also a very crucial stage of the whole examination process, hence the welfare of the invigilators need to be taken care of”.
In other words, if invigilators are disgruntled, they would not care less whether pupils cheated or not while sitting for their final examinations. If the invigilators’ welfare is among Zimsec’s concerns, as Majongwe seems to be suggesting, then what can stop them from being bribed by students to look aside as they cheat?
Given the dire state of the economy and the fact that the invigilators, being teachers who are among the most poorly paid civil servants, it cannot be ruled out that cheating must be rife at the country’s examination centres.
All this tells us that Zimsec must be well-organised and so professional in its endeavour and mandate that it should leave no room for excuses if it is to salvage its reputation. Otherwise, as things stand, all its efforts will continue being undone at every turn. NewsDay