16 February 2013

Zambia: Soaring Exam Malpractices Worry State

GOVERNMENT has expressed concern at the increasing rate of examination malpractices in which 316 cases were recorded during the 2012 Grade 12 examinations compared to 267 cases in 2011 countrywide.

Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education Minister John Phiri said in Lusaka yesterday that the cases of examination cheating in 2012 involved six teachers and 310 candidates.

Dr Phiri said of the candidates involved in the malpractices, 75 per cent were for General Certificate of Education (GCE) while 25 per cent were internal candidates.

He said this when he announced the 2012 Grade 12 results in which 60,318 candidates out of 103,853 who sat for examinations obtained full school certificates representing 58.08 per cent .

Dr Phiri was dismayed with the marginal drop of 1.79 per cent from the 60,318 candidates who sat for the examinations compared to 59.87 per cent recorded in 2011.

"The nature of malpractice cases involved assistance, having prior knowledge of the examination and smuggling of foreign materials into the examination room.

"In some cases, the examination papers were stolen through break-ins hence giving some candidates access to examination papers before they were written," Dr Phiri said.

He has directed the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) to work towards eliminating examination malpractices by cleaning examination processes at the setting, distributing, administering, marking and processing stages.

He said such proactive measures would help to ensure a malpractice free examination environment.

The Minister appealed to the members of the public to be diligent and vigilant in assisting the ministry to eradicate the vice.

On the results, Dr Phiri said out of 105, 825 candidates who entered for the examination in 2012, a total of 103, 853 in which 58,629 were males while 45,224 females, sat for the examinations.

He said 41,307 out of 103,853 candidates who sat for examinations managed to obtain GCE while 2,227 completely failed.

"There is a consistent trend in terms of the output of School Certificate holders of about 59 per cent over the last five years," Dr Phiri said

He was impressed with new Muchinga Province for recording 61 per cent School Certificates awards while Eastern Province had an increase from 62.88 per cent in 2011 to 64.50 per cent in 2012.

Southern Province emerged second with an increase from 60.54 per cent in 2011 to 64.50 per cent in 2012 while Luapula Province recorded 47.10 per cent in 2011 to 52.13 per cent in 2012.

Dr Phiri said North-Western Province in 2012 recorded 55.4 per cent compared to 51.24 per cent in 2011 while the remaining five provinces recorded a decline in performance.

He directed the Provincial Education Officers (PEOs) and their District Education Board Secretaries to evaluate the performance of candidates and set the new targets to better the 2012 results.

On the 41,307 candidates who obtained GCE, he said 21, 924 were males while 19,383 were females representing 39.77 per cent of the number that sat for the examination.

This showed an increase of 1.27 per cent over the candidates who obtained GCE Certificate in 2011 which stood at 38.5 per cent.

He directed the Directorate of Open and Distance Education in the ministry to hasten implementation of alternative secondary school programme through subject modules which its Zambia College of Distance Education in Luanshya was producing.

The modules which cover all subjects learnt from Grade eight to 12, were easier to read and reach and helped to prepare all GCE centre and school candidates in all parts of the country.

On 2,227 candidates out of which 1,252 were males and 975 females who completely failed, Dr Phiri said the development had represented 2.14 per cent failure rate.

The failure rate has increased by 0.56 per cent over that of 2011 which stood at 1.58 per cent.

He said the failure was attributed to a general lack of commitment by the candidates to prepare for the examinations while several candidates could not afford exorbitant tuition fees which meant examination centres and in addition to examination centre fees.

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