Saturday 18 February 2023


THE Government is set to appoint an Independent Commission of Inquiry to assess the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) following a surge in examination paper leakages as well as “extremely” high grades being scored by pupils at Advanced (A) level, among a number of concerns raised against the examination body.

This was revealed by the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu, while presenting a Ministerial statement on the management of the leakages of some Ordinary (O) level examination question papers in the National Assembly last Wednesday.

The examining body came under spotlight following numerous leakages that were reported during the course of the public examinations last year.

Following the release of A level results last month, Zimsec was once again on the spotlight as some candidates recorded high grades for more than three subjects, that the public described as results inflation. Some pupils set for as much as ten subjects, against the standard three subjects, while high grades were recorded of up to 50 points. Each A pass grade carries five points at A level, with a B carrying four points and a C  carrying three points, D (two points) and E (one point), with grades not carrying points being Ordinary and Fail.

The concerns raised by the public saw Members of Parliament requesting Dr Ndlovu to respond through a ministerial statement. In her presentation, Dr Ndlovu highlighted some of the measures that Government will implement to restore the credibility of the examining body, with the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry being one of them.

“I think we will restore credibility by having a Commission of Inquiry which will assess whether Zimsec is doing the right thing or they are leaking the examination papers. The results and recommendations will guide us accordingly. On legislative changes, I promise that we are going to push for the Zimsec Amendment Bill to go through the relevant committees, it goes through Cabinet then it comes to Parliament. We have a draft amendment Bill in place. That draft must go through the Cabinet process then come to Parliament for approval,” said Dr Ndlovu.

Turning to the high pass grades at A level, Dr Ndlovu said Government will look into regulating the number of subjects written through formulating a policy.

“At A level, how can people believe in people who attain 20 points? I think we need to come up with a policy to limit the number of subjects that are written by our children. We really need to come up with a policy as a Ministry that, at most, a child should register four subjects at A level.

“The issue of writing 10 subjects and all why? There is confusion, so I think; we will come up with a policy so that at least our children can write four subjects. After all, our universities require only three subjects – Yes, they need three. So, the maximum, we will recommend, as a Ministry, that we come up with a policy where we reduce the number of A level subjects.”

She said some examination papers were leaked from a school in Matabeleland South.

“The Zimsec security worked with the Commercial Crime Division of the CID and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to trace the source of the leakage after the leakage was reported on 16 October from the Zvishavane area. The team found out that the question papers in three subjects leaked from Thokozane Secondary School in Matabeleland South Province and circulated on WhatsApp and some social media platforms. The question papers were peddled by some ordinary citizens and some Advanced level candidates charging those who needed the question papers,” said Dr Ndlovu.

She said candidates and school officials and ordinary citizens who posted question papers on WhatsApp and those that bought them were arrested and appeared in court.

“The sentences they got, however, were either community service or fines. Mr Kudakwashe Betserayi who fraudulently registered an Econet sim card in Zimsec’s name and sold question papers was arrested in Masvingo and is still on remand. The head and the deputy head of Thokozane Secondary School are still in custody in remand in Filabusi,” said Dr Ndlovu.

The head and deputy head of Thokozane Secondary School who had the keys to where the question papers were are alleged to have broken the keys which belong to the monitor and stole the examination papers and sold them to an attendant at a pharmacy in Zvishavane. The pharmacy attendant is alleged to have sold the question papers on social media platforms. Sunday News


Post a Comment