Examining the Examiner
Exam Leaks…or are they?
Consequent to the various media reports pertaining to the 2015 ZIMSEC November examinations, the candidates and all concerned stakeholders have been left in a quandary of sorts as to where we are going as an intellectual nation and in particular ZIMSEC as the custodian of the examinations.
A few weeks ago, the Examiner highlighted some issues pertaining to examinations malpractice (Final Examinations-Who’s cheating who?). There were a few responses to this articles but of utmost surprise was the responses we received from education practitioners who are mentors to students who sit examinations, especially bridging courses. Of particular interest was the fact that there was a refusal to take responsibility for the socialisation of the child/ student/ candidate. In former years no child belonged to their parents alone but the neighbours, teachers and relatives were all necessary and influential in how this ‘person’ would turn out. Nowadays is seems, the society has turned into a self-interested society where people only look out for themselves and their own and so it has become easy to play the blame game and look away from how unity of purpose, vision and beliefs can defeat a repugnant vice, and in this particular case, examination malpractice.
This year in particular has had very interesting incidents which have showcased just how depraved people can be just to make money off the gullible and idle candidate. Thieves who have no regards for the damage they are doing to the nations integrity, have now gone into the business of typing or writing out fake examination papers, yes, you read right, fake examination papers which they take to the streets and sell for a minimum of $40 (Forty dollars) to a grand fee of $200 or more. These ‘vendors’, for a lack of a better word, leaked the Mathematics Paper 2, Integrated Science Paper 1, English Language Paper 2, this is according to the official information we have, and as if that was enough they peddled the mathematics Specimen paper written November 2016, to these imprudent students.
I can almost hear the outcry, ’How can people do that when parents are struggling to raise exam fees!’ Really? Is that what the problem is or does the problem not lie with those who are ‘clever’ enough to want to cheat at an examination rather than simple and straight forward studying to receive the merit that is rightly due to them?
The statement released by the Chairman of ZIMSEC, Professor L Nyagura, on the 5th November 2015 spoke directly to the issues and circumstances relating to the leakage of the November 2015 examination papers, “The social media has had reports of question papers being on sale in various locations. Investigations have indicated some question papers reportedly on sale. It has, however, been established that members of the public are being deceived into purchasing counterfeit question papers, disguised as authentic question papers distributed by ZIMSEC. Criminal elements are taking advantage of gullible, unprepared candidates inclined to obtain passes through surreptitious means.” And to put the cherry on the top there were allegations that some candidates upon entering the examination room exclaimed that the papers they had been issued were the wrong ones!
Let us consider this phenomenon in a moment of sobriety. How much value are we as a nation placing on the credentials we receive? Granted there were real exam papers that were found but it was a sparse number which has made ZIMSEC rule out the fear of a re-write of the examinations affected. Cheating, paper leakage and examination malpractice is not peculiar to Zimbabwe but that does not absolve us, neither should we find comfort in the fact that this is becoming a widespread disease, instead we should get together as a people and stop these acts of corruption perpetrated at this young age for it can only culminate into an even greater national malady with generational effects.
Below are samples of the questions which were in the fake examination papers versus the original question paper. It is unfortunate we are unable to publish the full papers but the few you will see below should paint a good picture of how adamant these thieves are to deceive?
‘The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel’ Proverbs 12:15. Stop Examination Malpractice, work hard, study hard and you will succeed.