Zimsec ropes police in school exams

THE Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) has introduced robust measures to curb exam paper leakages and will enlist the services of the police to safeguard exam material in the forthcoming 2018 schools examinations, The Sunday Mail has established.

Grade Seven pupils begin examinations tomorrow, with Ordinary and Advanced Level students starting on October 15 and 16, respectively.

It is also understood that the schools examination mother body is currently installing a secure printing press.

Last week, Zimsec public relations manager Ms Nicky Dhlamini said the police, Zimsec officials and schools’ staff would jointly provide security for the exam papers.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said he was yet to check on the issue of police involvement.

He said: “I have to check with the police records first and will give you feedback on Monday.”

Zimbabwe has in the past years witnessed an increase in examination cheating. This has been compromising the country’s education standards.

Ms Dhlamini said this year, exam papers will be collected from centers on the day of the examination, with written scripts collected just after the end of the examination.

She said: “We will deliver question papers to examination cluster centres, which hold the material for a number of centres. Answer scripts will all be collected soon after an examination and forwarded to the cluster centres.

“On the day of the examination, heads of schools will collect examination question papers from cluster centres.

“Centres that are far from cluster centres will be accorded a single centre storage status. They will be manned by a similar personnel – that is Zimsec, police and local school staff.”

However, Ms Dhlamini said those in charge at exam centres will only have access to question papers in the morning of the examination.

On the issue of printing the examination papers, Ms Dhlamini said, “The printing of question papers for a national examination in any country must be done in a secure place using efficient machinery.

“The printing of our question papers outside the country is meant to ensure we complete the installation of our own secure printing press.

“The installation of a secure system for national examinations is a national priority which needs support from all the stakeholders within the examinations sector. In that regard, resources have been made available.”

Ms Dhlamini said each examination centre will now include external invigilators from other schools.

She said Zimsec might also deploy super invigilators from its offices to supervise the conduct of the exams.

Last year recorded examination paper leakages that resulted in the nullification of English Paper 2 results.

The scandal resulted in the suspension of seven top Zimsec officials, including former director Mr Esau Nhandara.