Editorial Comment: Zimsec must shape up, period!

Zimsec chairperson, Eddie Mwenje

THE examination paper leak scourge afflicting this nation has been worsening for the past few years and the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) has perennially promised us that it is crafting measures to plug all loopholes in its examination system.

The year 2022 was probably the worst in the country’s history when a record number of leakages were recorded countrywide. The leakages were so severe that even the police had to step in to douse the flames by arresting mainly the cheaters.

However, we never heard of anyone being picked up at Zimsec. Neither did we hear of someone resigning given the very embarrassing situation which pointed to failure within the organisation.

And for the umpteenth time, Zimsec is yet again trying to sweet-talk us into believing that the examination paper leakage scourge is being addressed and the organisation is on top of the situation.

In our NewsDay edition yesterday, Zimsec chairperson, Eddie Mwenje was all bubbly telling us that: “There are various ways that we want to introduce, including the distribution of our examination papers ... So we have revised ... we have stopped other centres from being distributors of our examination papers ... The issue of leaking examinations is actually a problem that takes place and we have to continually, each year and each time, revise our systems, especially given the issues of technology, whereby, if something comes out from one phone, it could be in Egypt in a few minutes.

“So, we are putting in a plethora of measures, but we can really safely say that we are really excited about the whole examination process for this year which ran very smoothly.”This is amazing coming from someone who is heading a 28-year-old institution which has been conducting examinations for nearly three decades.

What amazed some of us most about everything Mwenje said is that when Zimsec was formed in 1996, for years we hardly heard of examination paper leaks, but as the institution grew older, the scourge became increasingly endemic, meaning that something had gone wrong somewhere along the way and the Zimsec examination system had been breached, or corrupted to be more precise.

Evidence that the Zimsec system has been seriously corrupted abound in the rampant leakages and it is our considered opinion that as long as those in charge at Zimsec do not crack the whip, the examinations body’s systems will keep leaking like a punctured sieve.

Heads must roll each time there is a paper leakage. It is, in fact, quite easy to pinpoint where a leakage occurs if Zimsec has a clear examination distribution channel. So all we are saying is, Mwenje and company are fast asleep on the wheel and they should not keep pulling wool over our eyes when they are clearly failing in their mandate.

They will keep revising and revising their systems until donkeys grow horns as long as they do not come down hard on those involved in the examination paper distribution channel, starting from where the papers are set, down to the printers and up to the invigilators. That entire channel is Zimsec’s responsibility which it has evidently not been closely monitoring.

The entire channel must be watertight.This is all within Zimsec’s capabilities because we have foreign examination bodies such as Cambridge which never report paper leakages; and if there are any, they may be so isolated that there is nothing much to write home about. Zimsec must stop fooling us. It must simply shape up. Period!

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