Nullification of O Level English Paper 2 exam results opens can of worms

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The nullification of the 2017 Ordinary Level English Paper 2 on allegations of examination leakage has opened a can of worms amid reports that the practice has been happening for many years.

In the past it has been difficult to pin down the real source of the leakage because there were many players with access to the examination papers who could easily leak them.

Possible suspects start right from the setters of the examinations, examiners down to the printers, proof readers, headmasters and teachers.

According to impeccable sources within the examination board, while Zimsec had put in place measures to safeguard the examination papers by creating cluster distribution centres at which the papers are kept, it could also not be ruled out that the leaks could have come from the examinations centres during the formative stages of the examination.

Examination papers are guarded at cluster distribution centres by both state and Zimsec security. However, security afterwards is not guaranteed and it is up to school heads to ensure the papers are safe.

“When the papers are safely under guard then the police will keep guard until the respective heads come to collect them. It is from that time that there is a chance of papers leaking,” said an official in the ministry of primary and secondary education.

There is a three-tier system which is used to ensure that no one person can have access without the other one in the loop.

“So there is a case of collusion between the headmaster, his deputy and the senior teacher. There is no way one can have access without conniving with the other,” said the official.

According to the officials, security really ended as soon as the papers left Zimsec and are taken to respective schools.

“That is one gap and from information at hand the leaks occurred in that period,” the source said.

All night vigils were reportedly held in some schools as students were given answers to the questions or areas that would feature in the actual examination.

“During examinations some pupils were caught dozing, after they had spent the night pouring over the answers,” said the official.
Apparently what circulated in some instances were not the examination question but answers.

There is also evidence that WhatsApp groups had been set up within communities with parents, teachers and pupils being part of them. Questions and answers were leaked via the groups that are widespread.

“Zimsec has to come clean on this and explain their side and the processes that are involved in the making of an examination,” said another source.

“The public should know who these examiners are, their background, the actual setting up of the examination and systems that Zimsec uses. It is the only way for us to know for sure that their hands are clean.”

Masvingo has been on the forefront of the examination leakages followed by Mutare.

“Why Masvingo? Are there any links between Masvingo and examiners or ministry of education? People need to interrogate that,” said another source.

Social media was flooded with a message on Friday that claimed that a student at a school in Masvingo had been caught with another leaked paper for the English paper 2 examination that is expected to be re-written on February 16.

Quick facts on examination leakages:

l Leakages occur in the middle of the night from around midnight to the early hour of the morning.

l Zimbabwe uses a centralised examinations system and a leak of one paper affects the whole nation.

l Evidence of a leaked paper includes an unusually high pass rate or a group of students showing identical presentation of solutions to the examinations questions.

l School heads and teachers are not employed by Zimsec to transport and administer examinations. They are not paid for such services which they carry out at their expenses.

l Factors contributing to schools examination leakages include, use of public transport and lack of security from district examinations centres to schools.

– The Standard


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