Maputo — The Pedagogic University (UP), Mozambique's largest institution of higher education warned on Monday that candidates who cheat during the admission examinations currently under way across the country will be excluded, not only from the UP, but from any public university for the next three years.
In an interview with AIM, the coordinator of the UP entrance exams, Elias Matos, said that the UP has reached an agreement with the other universities. “We are collaborating with the other universities”, he declared. “Anyone caught cheating at the UP will not be able to study at any public university for three years. That's the agreement we have. It's the only thing we can do”.
Any exam supervisors involved in academic fraud will face tougher measures. “They won't receive their money, and criminal proceedings will be started against them”, said Matos. “We have to discourage any type of fraud. There can be no half measures”.
The UP has trained supervisors to recognise anomalous situations, and has publicised all the norms inherent to the examinations - so that nobody can say they committed fraud because they did not know the norms. In Maputo City alone, over 600 supervisors are overseeing the examinations.
Among other measures to discourage cheating, the university has introduced metal detectors to ensure that students cannot take forbidden electronic devices (such as cell phones or tablets) into the examination room.
So far, Matos said, the UP has not detected any cases of cheating in the exams that have already taken place (which include geography, design and the fundamentals of philosophy). “These exams were held in a calm environment”, he said. “Now the chemistry exam will take place and we think it will go ahead without any problems”.
Last year, the UP had detected three attempts to smuggle cell phones into exam rooms in Maputo, one in the southern province of Gaza, and one in the central city of Quelimane. In all cases the devices were discovered before the students could use them.
The UP Entrance Examinations Commission also guaranteed that it has been working “day and night” to ensure that there are no leaks of the exam papers. “So far we haven't had any such cases”, sad Matos. “Our exam papers have several levels of security. If any are leaked, we have criteria for discovering where they came from”.
41,156 candidates, of whom 51.7 per cent are men, are competing for 13,799 available places at the UP.
This is a slight reduction on the figures for last year, when 44,500 candidates competed for about 16,000 places. Matos said the education is because some distance learning centres will not provide courses this year, because they are being reorganised and re-equipped.
The UP teaches 37 courses. Those most in demand are Biology, Geography, Environmental Management, and Human Resource Management.
The results of the entrance exams will be announced in the first week of February, and classes will begin a week later.