Last year’s Zimbabwe ordinary level examinations were stolen from Matebeleland South but they were distributed throughout the country from a pharmacy in Zvishavane, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Evelyn Ndlovu told Parliament last week.
She said it was not clear whether the teachers that leaked the papers were from Zvishavane or not.
Ndlovu said the worst affected province was Masvingo where results for one of the schools, Mukaro, were withheld but later released with only those of pupils suspected to have cheated being withheld.
The pupils will rewrite the examinations in June.
Below is the Minister’s response to questions following her ministerial statement on the examinations.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. NDLOVU): Thank you Madam Speaker, I can hear the cries of our people in the House about ZIMSEC and the measures that we are taking. I will start to answer the Matabeleland South issue. Matabeleland South did not benefit from the papers; the papers were stolen at Thokozane which is in Matabeleland South. According to the paper that I read to you, the papers were then taken to Zvishavane in a pharmacy and that is where the paper was then distributed; from Zvishavane not from Matabeleland South. So Matabeleland South did not have access to the paper.
The teachers, whether they come from Zvishavane, I do not know but they had a link in a pharmacy in Zvishavane. The paper was then sold all over the country but Matabeleland South did not have access to that paper. The majority of the culprits were in the other part of the country from Zvishavane coming this way. People were arrested but it is the sentence that is weak, that is why I said we need to review the law to make it stiffer so that these people are punished enough to feel the pain. If we review the law and punish these people, then the leaking will stop. As long as the law is lenient on the culprits, then we will continue to have a leakage. There were measures that dealt with effects of the leakage – that is why the examinations went on so we took the measures as ZIMSEC to make sure that they contain the leakages. It was quick, it was ZIMSEC that approached the security forces after my recommendation but it was them that approached the security forces. The principle of localisation, I agree with you Hon. Biti but the measure that we should take is that we must bring the Amendment Bill here so that we can tighten the screws and make sure that there is no leakage that is going to happen.
You are right to say we might look at an independent commission to investigate them; they might come back to us again saying there is nothing wrong with ZIMSEC. As I said, we are going to consider the House’s recommendation that we come up with an independent commission to investigate ZIMSEC and the systems around ZIMSEC. The online leakage, I am told that there was a soft copy and I do not know where that soft copy came from. According to them, they said that the soft copy came from a Zvishavane lady – [HON. BITI: Inaudible interjection.] – They said they had a scanned copy not a soft copy – [HON. BITI: Says who? That is why I am saying let us investigate these people.] – Ivava; takukuinvestigatai vakomana, there is no choice. – We have to investigate and see if they were correct.
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