7 October 2008

Tanzania: Form IV Exam Leaks

The national Form Four basic mathematics examination paper has leaked, prompting the Government to cancel the paper.

Education and Vocational Training permanent secretary Khamis Dihenga confirmed that the paper had leaked before this year's national Form Four examinations began yesterday.

The decision to withdraw the paper briefly threw candidates into confusion yesterday morning.

However, Prof Dihenga refuted reports that the Kiswahili, English, civics, history and physics papers had also leaked.

National Examinations Council of Tanzania (Necta) executive secretary Joyce Ndalichako said some papers claimed to have been leaked were being studied to establish the authenticity of the claims.

"We got information of that some papers had leaked and immediately informed security organs which managed to seize some papers," Dr Ndalichako said, adding that it was only mathematics paper which had been proven to have leaked.

The more than 241,195 candidates will now sit for a new mathematics paper on October 27. They were scheduled to sit for the civics examination yesterday afternoon. The exams will run throughout the week to early next week.

Prof Dihenga said the Government could be forced to revisit the way the exams were set and administered.

He added that the possibility of having different examination papers for different regions would be explored with a view to preventing leakages in the future.

The PS said the Government was carrying out investigations to establish the source of the leakage of the mathematics paper.

"We got some samples and when we compared them we realised that the basic mathematics examination has leaked. We are carrying out investigations to establish who exactly was responsible.

"There are people who have been entrusted with the responsibility of looking after the exam papers, but it seems that they are betraying this trust," Prof Dihenga said.

Meanwhile, Dr Ndalichako could not say is any Necta workers had been arrested in connection with the leakage. "We are not able to say who was involved or in which region the leakage first took place. We are carrying out investigations to get to the bottom of the matter," she said.

A senior education programme officer representing the donor community in Dar es Salaam, Mr Anderson Frankenberg of the Swedish embassy, said the decision to call off the mathematics examination was the right move.

He said that continuing with the leaked examination would have given an unfair advantage to candidates who had the paper in advance.

Mr Anthony Gizenga, chairman of the Tanzania Education Network (TenMet), said the civil society would like to see the Government put more efforts into protecting the national examinations against leakages.

He said that there was a need for the Government to learn from other countries on how they protected their national exams.

Mr Gizenga said that the leakage was a syndrome of a poor education system in which society was only concerned with certificates and not capabilities of their holders.

The affected candidates, teachers and parents were absorbing the news of the cancellation yesterday even as others said the government should crack the whip at Necta and in other institutions responsible. The students said they only knew about their fate in the morning on their ways to exam rooms.

Earlier, Dr Ndalichako said she saw no need to resign in the wake of the leakage and other recent incidents that have cast the council in poor light.

"Resigning will not be the best way of solving the problem since running away from a problem will not provide the answer. We are looking at possible areas of weakness," she said in an interview with TBC1.

Some students from Forodhani, Kisutu and Jangwani secondary school while commending the move, blamed the Government for entertaining corrupt education officials out to make a quick buck by selling leaked papers.

"We are not to blame. The Government should shoulder the blame for being negligent," said Annah Mwandambo from Kisutu said.

Semgeni George from Forodhani said it was an anticlimax that was bound to affect the morale of many students in doing the other subjects.

Herieth Siara from Jangwani said: "I am not pleased at all with this, because it has brought more doubts that even the other subjects have been leaked to."

Karolini Nyagawa from the same school has appealed to the government to increase effort in fighting corruption which could lead to the decrease of such incidences during examinations.

"Examinations are very important, but you can find that those supervising are bribed, given the state of corruption in the country, these people will continue selling the leakages if nothing is done," she added.

The headmaster of Mzizima Secondary School, Mr Salvatore Gargiuto, said the society ought to be blamed for the outcome.

"Tanzania students are not serious with education and the future of their country that's why they depend on cheating," he said.

Additional reporting by Furaha Kijingo and Loyce Joseph.

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