Learners who sought to cheat their way through the November 2017 Ordinary Level examinations have been dealt a heavy blow after the Constitutional Court dismissed an application by their parents and guardians to reverse the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec)’s decision to withhold and cancel their results.
The exams management body, in line with Section 34(3) of the Zimsec Act, withheld and cancelled results for 13 Dadaya High School learners citing examination malpractice involving premature access to examination material.
However, parents and guardians of the affected children took the matter to court.
Zimsec was cited as the first respondent, while the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and the Attorney General were cited as second and third respondents, respectively.
In its opposing papers, Zimsec argued that its decision was justified as it was made to protect the integrity of Zimbabwe’s examinations system.
In arriving at the decision to withhold and cancel the results of the 13 students, Zimsec argued, they acted reasonably and had good and sufficient grounds for doing so.
It also noted that parents of the students even admitted in their application that their children had been prematurely exposed to the English Paper 2 examination via WhatsApp (a mobile messaging service) and had benefited from this.
In making its ruling, the Constitutional Court said Section 36 of the Zimsec Act allowed the Minister (of Primary and Secondary Education) to put in place regulations providing for the cancellation of examinations or the results of examinations in cases of proven malpractices.
Mr Tawanda Zvobgo of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha Legal Practitioners – who represented Zimsec – said the ruling was a deterrent to would-be offenders.
“The dismissal of the applicants’ Constitutional Court application reaffirms the importance of protecting the integrity of Zimbabwe’s school examinations system.
“Ordinary and Advanced Level students must be aware that there are consequences to cheating and that they could jeopardise all of their examination results if they are tempted to indulge in examinations malpractice,” said Mr Zvobgo.
“This social rot must be eradicated. Parents and guardians must take it upon themselves to encourage their children to study hard and pass their examinations on merit, and to reprimand them if ever they are involved in any kind of cheating during examinations,” he said.
He added, “It destroys the very fabric of our nation if parents choose to challenge the cancellation of their children’s results when they have been found by the relevant authorities to have been involved in examinations malpractice.
“Parents must do the responsible thing, which is to chastise their child, and encourage them to shun away from such behaviour.”