An investigation into the leak of Grade 10 and Grade 12 final examination question papers and answer sheets, has revealed the leakage was confined only to the Caprivi Region.
According to the findings, out of 1 061 Grade 12 learners in the Caprivi Region, only 23 learners were involved, translating into a mere 2.2 percent regionally and a negligible 0.0055 percent of 41 891 Grade 12 learners registered for the examinations in 2012 nationally.
Grade 10 learners were exonerated since there is no evidence pointing to the leaking or selling of any question papers or answer sheets for that grade.
The preliminary findings were made public by the Minister of Education, Dr Abraham Iyambo, in the presence of teachers, schools principals, education officials, parents and learners at Katima Mulilo on Monday.
"On the 6th and 7th October 2012, I was here in [the] Caprivi Region. We had meetings with the acting regional director of education, school principals of secondary schools, inspectors of education, members of the regional council, the Namibian Police and teachers. I made a specific promise that I will make the announcement here in [the] Caprivi Region after extensive investigations in the alleged leakage of examination question papers and answers," Iyambo announced in the company of Charles Kabajani, the undersecretary of formal education and Cavin Nyambe the director of national examinations and assessment.
In an effort to restore credibility in the national examinations and the education sector's image, Iyambo maintained that the investigation was conducted nationwide and that stakeholders in education were thoroughly consulted.
"In order to determine the full extent and magnitude of the alleged leakage of grades 10 and 12 final examination question papers and answers, investigations were conducted in all 13 regions and not only [the] Caprivi Region.
"The national examinations, assessment and certification board was fully consulted about investigations. The Cambridge international examination was also informed of the alleged leakage," said Iyambo.
Iyambo also announced that he would commission an audit on the Directorate of National Examinations and Assessment aimed at cementing Namibia's credibility in the eyes of tertiary education institutions both locally and outside Namibia.
"I will commission an audit on the Directorate of National Examinations and Assessment. This will be an independent and external audit in the administration and conduct of national examinations and assessment. This audit will ensure that the nation and other countries where a Namibian child is admitted for tertiary studies do not lose confidence in our Grade 12 qualifications," stressed the education minister.
Other stringent measures, targeted specifically at suspicious learners who might have been involved in the scam and are unknown, have been put in place in efforts to curtail cheating. "Measures have been put in place during the marking of the Grade 12 answer scripts, which is underway in Windhoek, to identify more learners who might have been involved in this scam. Markers would be looking at unfamiliar trends. Those learners who are identified, their papers would be put on hold until the completion of the investigation by both the ministry and the police," Iyambo revealed.
The investigation, carried out by the education ministry, further revealed that only the question papers and answer sheets of the Grade 12 ordinary level examinations were leaked. Of the 23 Grade 12 learners involved in the scam, 14 are full-time, while nine are part-time candidates.
"The leakage does not involve question papers or answers for any higher level Grade 12 subjects. Evidence points to the leakage in ordinary level subjects of English Second Language, Development Studies, Biology, History, Agriculture and Business Studies.
There is strong evidence that the final examination question papers and answers in the abovementioned subjects were sold to the 23 learners," Iyambo revealed.
Learners involved come from schools including Mayuni, Sikosinyana, Caprivi, Kizito and Sanjo secondary schools, with the latter school involving only part-time learners.
Iyambo was also quick to point out that police investigations that ran parallel with the ministerial probe were still ongoing. "The
Namibian police are still working very hard to establish the source of the leakage of the question papers. The law will take its course once the source is established. We should allow justice to prevail through the law enforcement agencies under the Ministry of Safety and Security by following normal procedures," said Iyambo.
It has also emerged that the 23 learners involved in the leakage will not be allowed to sit for any national examinations for a period of one year as a form of reprimand.
"I as minister, guided by section 80 of the Education Act, direct that these 23 learners will not be allowed to sit for the national examinations for one year. The punishment therefore is not a lifelong exclusion from education and training. Their examination papers will be marked, but results will be nullified as stipulated in the rules and regulations.
"I could have decided four years, but looking at their age, they are still young. At their young age they were enticed and now they have learned a bitter lesson. Therefore, the nullification of the results will be valid for a period of one year. The candidates will have the right to appeal within 14 days after their written notification," said Iyambo.
Iyambo further exonerated the ministerial staff from any possible involvement in the leakage. "There is no evidence of involvement of teachers, principals, education inspectors or any other education official of selling or leaking papers. You are all clean and I commend you for that," said Iyambo to loud applause. He used the platform to announce the dates for the release of all examination results.
Grade 10 and Grade 12 higher-level results will be released on December 21, 2012 whereas those of Grade 12 ordinary-level are scheduled for release on January 18, 2013.