Nullified English Paper to be re-written next week

Nullified English Paper to be re-written next week
Published: 09 February 2018 (181 Views)
THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has nullified the November 2017 Ordinary Level English Language Paper 2 examination, with candidates expected to write a new test on Friday next week.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavhima yesterday said the nullification was necessitated by widespread cheating by   candidates.

"I would like to advise the nation that the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) November 2017 Ordinary Level English Language Paper 2 examination will be retaken on Friday February 16, 2018 from 10AM to 12noon. All the results for the November 2017 English Paper 2 have been nullified.

"This follows the widespread cheating on this paper exacerbated by the social media and identified during the November 2017 examination session. It was reported in the press during the examination and subsequently validated during the marking of candidate scripts," said Prof Mavhima.

The Minister apologised for any inconveniences arising from the action that Government has taken.

"I would like to emphasise that this drastic decision has been arrived at after painstaking and agonising consideration. In the final analysis, the decision has been necessitated by the need to maintain and preserve the integrity of the national examination system.

"It's regrettable that some innocent candidates will be inconvenienced by the remedial action but the circumstances of the cheating left no other alternative," said Prof Mavhima.

He urged all candidates who sat for the November 2017 examination to report to their examination centres in order to write the examination at 10AM on Friday next week.

The Minister said candidates whose results had been cancelled after they were caught cheating in any subject including English Language should not re-write the English Language Paper 2 set for next week.

Prof Mavhima said the ban included those who were prosecuted and sentenced for exam cheating.

Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Mr Sifiso Ndlovu welcomed the move taken by the Government, saying it emphasises zero tolerance on examination cheating and corruption.

"We know this has come as an inconvenience to the thousands of innocent candidates. But it's important to look at the reason why the examination paper has been nullified. The Government has declared zero tolerance on examination cheating and this proves its position.

"The candidates who have been found wanting will learn that what they did was immoral and it will not be tolerated at all," said Mr Ndlovu.

He said he was in support of decision to give short notice to those who will rewrite the exam, saying it reduces chances of possible cheating.

"This, however, should not end in re-writing of examinations because it's costly. There should be thorough investigations to find out the root cause of the cheating.

"It's not the teachers who are making the candidates cheat but there are certain authorities who're the custodians of the examination paper. They should be investigated. I would like to encourage teachers to accept the re-writing of the examination paper as it is in the name of cleansing their profession and upholding the integrity of the country's examinations," said Mr Ndlovu.

Progressive Teachers' Union president Mr Takavafira Zhou said government should seek a lasting solution to the problem of exam cheating.

He was of the view that while the ministry's decision to nullify the examination was noble, the announcement came late and will create challenges for candidates.

"This decision comes with a lot of challenges and it's clear that the ministry didn't put these into consideration. Imagine boarding school candidates who will have to sleep at school and obviously need money to travel and spend on the day.

"Some candidates are out of the country and most of them need time to prepare for the paper. This should have been done in November soon after reports of cheating not three months down the line," said Mr Zhou.

Parents whose children wrote the examination last year described the decision as a huge inconvenience which would be costly to them.

"I am saving for my son to proceed to A-Level and it's not easy in this economy. This is something I didn't expect considering the costs involved. It's a heavy financial burden because I'll have to spend money for my son to travel back to his examination centre," said Ms Simangaliso Shumba, whose son was at Mtshabezi High School.

Mrs Siphathisiwe Dube from Mpopoma said the ministry took too long to make a decision on the matter.

"The examination was written three months ago and they have been quiet. They should have made the announcement in December at least while the candidates were still in the examination mood," said Mrs Dube.

- chronicle

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