10 October 2018

Tanzania: Premier Enraged By Exam Scandals

AS 6,433 candidates from 110 schools toiled to re-write their Standard Seven examinations yesterday after the initial tests were annulled, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has issued a stern warning to education officers and teachers against engaging in examination malpractices.

"Education officers and teachers who engage in such vices are simply shaming themselves. Why should the educators subject the pupils to cheating rather than imparting the required knowledge onto the pupils, to enable them (the pupils) answer examination questions correctly?" Mr Majaliwa queried.

The premier issued the warning after a ceremony where he received classroom buildings in Bukoba, Kagera Region.

The buildings were constructed through funding by the government of Japan after Kagera was hit by an earthquake in 2016.

Last week, the National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA) annulled examination results for exams which were held on September 5 and 6, this year, after it uncovered massive cases of cheating by some schools in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, one in Kondoa and all schools in Chemba District in Dodoma.

The axe by the NECTA fell on 102 schools in Chemba and eight others in Kondoa, Dar es Salaam and Mwanza where the affected pupils had to re-sit the examinations.

Investigations by the examinations body has pinned down education and teachers in the implicated schools for being in the middle of the cheating scam through leaking answers of the exams to hapless pupils prior to the examinations.

And, speaking here yesterday, the Premier was irked that the educators were primarily responsible for the malpractice since the hapless children could not have thought of stealing the examination papers since they are not in the system which coordinates the exercise.

"The government has accordingly taken actions against all officials who were implicated since their actions impair the capacity of the pupils to learn and think and eventually providing half-baked learners," the PM pointed out.

The Premier further explained that it was through examinations that the levels of understanding for pupils and students were evaluated for consideration for promotion to higher classes; warning that the cases of malpractices should never recur.

He said the government was still conducting an in-depth inquiry to establish the source of the leakages. He noted that leakage of examinations to pupils shamed the teachers as it implied that they had failed to teach as required.

Shortly after NECTA annulled the initial results, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the President's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (Education) Tixon Nzunda, suspended all top district education officers in Chemba District, pending further actions.

The Executive Secretary of NECTA, Dr Charles Msonde, said then that besides the Chemba schools, other victims included Hazina and New Hazina, Aniny Nndumi and Fountain of Joy in Dar es Salaam, Alliance and New Alliance, Kisiwani (Mwanza) and Kondoa Integrity primary school.

Apart from cancelling the exams, the council has seized the examination centre permits from the implicated schools pending verification that the exam malpractices will never recur.

Alternatively, NECTA ordered substitute examination centres, with regional examination committees' approval be used for exam rewriting.

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