HARARE – The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) has defended its decision to cancel the results of at least 16 “O” Level pupils from Nagle House School in Marondera, arguing that their answer scripts were too identical to rule out foul play.
The response comes after the children’s parents approached the High Court challenging Zimsec’s decision to cancel the pupils’ results.
“After the reports were made, the respondent (Zimsec) took its own steps to investigate the veracity of the allegations by scrutinising the students’ examination scripts.
“The examiners’ reports concluded that the 16 students had been involved in examinations malpractice particularly in the Mathematics Paper 2 examination in that: either the results of the students were identical to the model answers shown in the documents circulated on social media so much that it was believed that the answers were pre-written; or, the results of some of the students were too identical to each other such that the answers could not possibly have been the result of the students’ own individual efforts…,” Zimsec said.
The examination body, further said that in some instances, the students had correct answers resulting from incorrect or no working, adding that this is impossible in a Mathematics examination.
However, the parents on the other hand argued that Zimsec acted unreasonably when it cancelled all results for the pupils for all subjects including subjects written prior and after October 24, without evidence of cheating in those examinations.
They maintained that cheating allegations arose only in the Mathematics exam paper 2.
“It was grossly unfair for respondent, without clear evidence of cheating to cancel results for all applicants’ children when statements of school officials do not link applicants’ children with any evidence of cheating and there was absolutely no basis and therefore grossly unreasonable respondents to rely on unconfirmed and unsubstantiated reports of the two pupils who were caught cheating then allegedly implicated applicants’ children,” said the guardians.
They went on to appeal for the immediate release of their children’s results.
But Zimsec said a precedence was set by the High Court, which has since ruled that such matters as the one brought by the parents could not be dealt with through an application.
The examination body said that there were invariably material disputes of fact, and that it is not the duty of the court to order Zimsec to release the results.
Zimsec urged the court to dismiss the request being sought by the parents.