The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: 348 Pupils Cleared in Examination Theft Probe

CLOSE TO 330 students, whose results were initially withheld because they were investigated in the theft of Grade 12 examination papers last year, have finally received their results.

Minister Abraham Iyambo on Friday directed the release of academic results saying the 348 candidates were interviewed, while 25 are yet to be interrogated.

In total, results of 373 pupils from eight regions were withheld because it was suspected that they had prior access to question and answer papers before they sat for last year's examinations.

The release of the results came a week after other students knew their results.

"The investigators could not find any evidence that the 348 candidates had any access to the question papers and memoranda in the selected subjects, prior to examinations," Iyambo said.

"The verification was conducted without prejudice and bias. Professionalism and subject knowledge formed the basis of the skills of the team," Iyambo said.

He invited the implicated students to collect their statement of results at their regional education directorates from tomorrow.

Iyambo also appealed to students who have not been interviewed to contact their regional officers to finnish the process.

The decision to interview about 373 students irked some some parents who had expressed concern that top-performing pupils might be victimised because of their success in the exams.

Of these 373 students implicated, 272 are from the Caprivi Region, 84 from Khomas, four from the Omusati and Kavango regions respectively, three from Oshana, two from Ohangwena and one from the Erongo Region.

In October last year 12 students and an adult were arrested in the Caprivi Region and are now awaiting trial .

The adult suspect is a former employee of the Directorate of National Examinations and Assessments, where she was responsible for typing question papers and marking answer sheets. At the time of her arrest she was the secretary to the regional police commander in Caprivi.

According to the ministry, it became clear during the marking process that 373 candidates appeared to have had access to the question papers and memoranda in the subjects of Biology, English Second Language, Agriculture, Business Studies, Economics and Development Studies.

Media reports alleged that the pupils bought examination papers for N$500 a piece. It remains unknown whether the ministry will tighten security at its examination headquarters after last year's leak.

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