Sunday, 18 February 2018

Zimsec Leaks Scandal Deepens

The leakage of last year’s “O” Level examination papers was not confined to the English Language Paper 2 as the Mathematics and Science papers also found their way into the hands of candidates ahead of the sittings, a confidential report has revealed.

The credibility of the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) took a battering a fortnight ago after the government ordered candidates who sat for the November 2017 English Paper 2 to rewrite the examination.

However, the order was reversed by the High Court last week, prompting the Zimsec board to suspend the body’s director Esau Nhandara and six other directors pending investigations.

And it has since emerged that the English paper scandal was just a tip of the iceberg.

According to a report titled Enquiry into Zimsec questions leakage during 2017 examinations obtained from the Primary and Secondary Education ministry last week, Mathematics had the highest number of papers that were leaked last year.

English had the highest number of papers that found their way into the hands of the candidates before the examination date followed by Science.
Zimsec Leaks Scandal Deepens
“The three subjects are compulsory for most institutes if you want to further your education career and are also demanded by most employers. this makes them most saleable,” reads part of the report prepared by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (property section Harare).

“Maths had the highest leakage in two comparative years, 2016 and 2017. This is due to the fact that that it is probably the hardest to pass and thereby making it the most lucrative to sell.”

A Masvingo teacher, Maurice Chiturumani (41), was identified as the alleged source of the leakages. He is suspected to have been working with Presley Moyo from Murehwa.
Private schools were also identified as some of the worst offenders.

“Private teachers took advantage of the leaked papers to teach their students the real exam papers,” reads part of the report.

“This would give them an advantage as more students would flock to them if they attained a high pass rate.”

The investigation identified social media as the medium for the leakages.

“Papers were mainly distributed through WhatsApp and payments made via the Ecocash platform,” the report says .

In Mashonaland Central, a husband and wife were found with a soft copy of the leaked examination just before the examination and they “confessed to have obtained it from their family WhatsApp group comprising of 51 members”.

“The first case in the November 2017 examination leakage was detected in Norton, Mashonaland West province,” the investigator said.

“A follow-up done led to Mutare where Tinashe Mukupe was arrested.

“Tinashe then led to Presley Moyo in Murehwa and the trail eventually fell cold on Maurice Chiturumani in Bikita”

Chiturumani has since appeared before the courts facing two charges of contravening the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council Act and criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.
He is out on $100 bail coupled with stringent conditions.

Chiturumani teaches Mathematics, Science and Geography at Budiriro Secondary School in Masvingo.

During the 2017 Zimsec “O” Level examination period, Chiturumani was part of the school team which would collect examination question papers from a cluster station located at Gwindingwi Secondary School at Nyika growth point.

The report states that Zimsec should relook at the distribution of the exam papers as well as laws that punish those who would have been caught leaking the papers.

“The current laws are not punitive enough to deter would-be offenders,” the report says.

“Enough and responsible personnel should be involved in collecting the examination material as one or two could connive to tamper and leak the examination paper for a reward or other motives.”

Zimsec has over the years struggled to contain leakage of its examination papers, which has severely compromised the country’s education system. www.thestandard.co.zw


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