Exam leaking taking a toll on education system

via Exam leaking taking a toll on education system – NewsDay Zimbabwe 10 November 2014

When former Education minister Edmund Garwe committed suicide in 2001 after his child had taken a peek at examination papers in his custody, analysts saw his action as the highest form of self-chastisement.

Garwe knew the enormity of the crime that had been committed and he couldn’t stand the shame that would go with it. He knew that the integrity of any education system lies in the way it handles its examination co-ordination.

When candidates sit examinations, it is not only them who are being examined, but also — and very importantly — the whole education system.

The person entrusted by the nation to superintend the education sector therefore cannot be the culprit who destroys it by undermining the testing system. It was this sense of guilty that drove Garwe to take his own life.

But many people have not learnt any lesson from this for, year after year, we see top education officials involved in the leaking of examination papers.

Zimbabwe’s education system has taken a battering in the past two decades. First, it was the diminishing government funding which deprived schools of important educational aids such as textbooks and laboratory equipment resulting in education facilities failing to meet minimum standards.

Second, it was the brain drain that accompanied a deteriorating economic system. It is estimated the country lost upward of 20 000 teachers following the economic collapse that accelerated at the turn of the millennium.

And thirdly, it was the politicisation of the education system during the subsistence of the political crisis which saw schools turned into political battlegrounds where teachers became the first line of attack for political militias.

But now, it seems, the greatest threat to the otherwise recovering education system is the continuing leakages of exam papers. Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu described the leaking of exams papers as “petty issues”.

This can only be described as unfortunate coming from such an important person in the whole gamut of the education system.

It is this crooked appreciation of the importance of a water-tight examination system by people who should know better that has cascaded to the lower cadre in the education matrix.

School heads should be people of impeccable credentials. The promotion of teachers to higher office should be done with all the rigours that go with it. Often we have seen half-baked individuals promoted to head schools, because there is little choice.

Understandably, leadership material has either emigrated or made career changes. But this can hardly be used to justify the appointment of corrupt, functionally illiterate stooges to head our schools.

The ministry of education should take a close look at how examinations are run and, if necessary, engage a consultant to study and make recommendations on how all the loopholes could be plugged.

The country cannot continue to have the integrity of its education system eroded by people who shouldn’t be anywhere near where they are.


  • comment-avatar
    Kenneth R Nedziwe 9 years ago

    With all that has just happened at UZ, grace Mugabe granted PhD , why talk about education system in Zimboland?