Heads must roll at Zimsec: Court. . . High Court judgment expected today, Schools cash in on English paper resit

Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo

Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo

Fidelis Munyoro/Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporters
THE High Court yesterday called for an overhaul of the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council system and said “heads must roll” over the bungling of public examinations.

This comes amid reports that some schools are reportedly hiring “examination experts” to teach, for a fee, candidates that will be sitting for the Zimsec Ordinary Level English Paper 2 to be re-written on Friday.

The High Court, which is today expected to deliver judgment in the case in which two Harare parents are seeking to nullify the re-writing of the November 2017 Ordinary Level English Language Paper 2 public examination, said it was surprised that no action had been taken against the officials involved.

However, the cheating case brought Zimsec under scrutiny during the hearing of the chamber application.

Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo sitting with Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa, said it was surprising that heads did not roll at Zimsec, that has become an anchorage of bungling.

“The whole system needs overhaul,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo.

“Heads must roll. It is quite surprising that nothing is being done to the officials. This is a problem caused by officials at Zimsec. It cannot be business as usual.”

Justice Munangati-Manongwa weighed in reading minutes from Zimsec on the deliberations and recommendations made before the examination body ordered a resit of the examination.

Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa

Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa

In the minutes, the Zimsec board members seem to acknowledge bungling.

The minutes stated that the cheating could have emanated at setting of the examination, printing, collection and distribution, among other levels.

To this end, Justice Munangati-Manongwa said the Zimsec was acknowledging bungling.

“Going by this statement they are acknowledging bungling,” she said.

“They are found wanting. This has been acknowledged by the board members who then went on to suggest remedies to the matter.”

Zimsec lawyer Mr Zvobgo Tawanda Zvobgo was asked why other students should pay the price for cheating when they had not committed the offence.

“Why a blanket punishment? Why should those who had not cheated pay the price for cheating?” queried Justice Munangati-Manongwa.

Mr Zvobgo said his client wanted to preserve the integrity of the country’s examination system.

In his submissions, Mr Zvobgo urged the judges to dismiss the urgent application for lack of merit.

“The applicants have failed to prove a case on the merits against first respondent (Zimsec),” said Mr Zvobgo.

“There is no valid basis upon which the court may grant the relief sought.”

He said the two parents — Messrs Victor Mukomeka and Chingasiyeni Govhati — represented by Mr Denford Halimani failed to aver, let alone prove any of the requirements for an interim interdict requirements.

The applicants, said Mr Zvobgo, were not seeking an order for their minor children, but on behalf of all candidates that sat for November 2017 public examination.

“To this extent the applicants have brought a class action suit,” he argued.

“Class action suits cannot be brought on an urgent basis because the concerned litigant must first comply with the necessary procedures to clothe himself with the requisite locus standi (legal standing).”

Earlier on Mr Halimani was forced to withdraw the order he sought for nullification of the Zimsec decision.

He withdrew the order after the judges queried the nature of the application which contradicted the order sought. The judges wanted to know whether Mr Halimani’s clients were representing their children alone and not the entire population which wrote the November 2017 English Paper 2 public examination.

The lawyer conceded and requested the judges to grant an appropriate order.

He then proposed to have the matter remitted to Zimsec for reconsideration.

“It is ideal for this court as the upper guardian of the children to consider the interest of the children,” said Mr Halimani. “It is the children’s interest at stake here and this court is the vanguard of the children’s rights.”

He said the action taken by Zimsec was mere reactionary and not based on good faith.

“They slept on duty and now want to cover for their bungling. It is an attempt to save face.”

Zimbabwe School Examinations Council last week ordered a resit of the examination on allegations that the paper leaked through social media.

In their application Messrs Mukomeka and Govhati are also suing Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavhima for breaching constitutional provisions by annulling the results. It is the parents’ argument that the minister acted beyond his authority of which the Act empowers, in Section 34, only the examinations board to annul examination results.

Meanwhile, Teachers’ associations yesterday said they have received reports from parents that some schools were hiring experts to ‘drill’ their children ahead of the resit and expressed concern over the developments.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Mr Takavafira Zhou called on the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to stop such practices.

“We received complaints that some schools are hiring people who call themselves examination experts to teach children for a fee in preparation for the English examination. This is totally unacceptable.

“It’s not only a burden on the parents but also a way of allowing cheating. Some of these people would have leaked examination papers before they visit schools and pick exactly what is in the examination paper,” said Mr Zhou.

He said some of these so called experts would be in connivance with the school authorities so that they record good results.

“Teaching should be left to the teachers. Those who want to teach should stay in the schools and stop using their tricks to get what is in the examination papers so that they help candidates to cheat. Such people should be arrested,” said Mr Zhou.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) president Mr Richard Gundane said schools should not be allowed to hire the so called experts.

“We’re yet to receive the reports as Zimta but if it’s happening in our schools the Government has to take action. This used to happen years back but it was banned. Schools would invite Zimsec examiners with experience as resource persons to coach candidates ahead of the examinations.

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  • robin hood

    The minister made a rushed decision …quite costly….sometimes I wonder if the leaders are really the best for the job…..are they aware of their powers and the law?

  • Fortune Mzondo

    Is that Nyaradzo Munangati.Was my classmate at Nyatsime College.Well done!Uphold fairness.Rotten eggs should be gotten rid of!I applaud you ladies!We worked hard in life and no pain no gain! Mavhima is Dokora reincarnate!!!

  • musa

    which schools are hiring “examination experts”? to drill which students, since those who wrote the exam are currently not in school as they await their o’level results?

  • sie

    The decision to rewrite is very unfair…why?
    -ZIMSEC slept on duty and now are penalizing parents and children
    -transport costs are to be suffered by parents as kids have to trave to their various centres
    -boarding schools that are in far areas should provide meals for writing students..a budget that was not available…about an average of 300 more plates for each gvt or mission school
    -its costly for schools to receive and despatch the examinations.
    -current classes will be disrupted as room is made available for the examination.
    -some students are not local (incl external students) some are out of the country and coming back if costly and even getting a flight booking to land in Zim in time for exam maybe difficult. So what happens is they fail to write?
    -Zimsec can also nullify the paper 2 results for all and consider paper 1 or
    -nullify paper 2 results for all those who cheated whose results indicate the cheating…this can be done to some individuals or entire specific school
    -ZImsec can lower the grading for paper 2 and take it as is.
    -there are many options which zimsec could have applied than derail the release of the results moreso only the month of March remains for kids to enroll for Form 5.

    FIRE ALL ZIMSEC OFFICIALS FROM GENERAL HAND TO THE DIRECTOR…THERE IS SERIOUS ROT!!

    RETURN TO CAMBRIDGE EXAMINATIONS LIKE WAS THE CASE YEARS BACK…GOVT SUBSIDIZES THE EXAM FEES COZ ZIMSEC IS A SERIOUS LET DOWN!!

    • mntungwa

      amen. very true. let’s go back to Commonwealth, Cambridge etc. During the Cambridge days anyone who got 5As would be admitted at a mental institution straight away. Aye fundisa futhi e setter ipaper amakhiwa shame. And all students could easily apply their knowledge. Go to Universities and see how the 15 pointers fail in application of ideas and theories. Perfect examples of drilled students

  • Ndadii Mangwanani

    ZIMSEC is failing. That is why some students are scoring up to 20 points or more on A level. How does a student manage time to sit for more than three subjects at A level. Somewhere somehow there is someone who is selling exams at ZIMSEC.The best solution to this problem is either to return to Cambridge or look for another foreign exam body to do our examinations otherwise everyone will be a graduate in Zimbabwe.

    • Mabhii Mana

      Saka is it a crime for everyone to graduate in Zimbabwe? Usarwadziwe kana mabhii achikukwatisa.

      • mntungwa

        its nonsensical whatever you are saying mntwana ka Google. Zimsec is a stupid examination body. DISSOLVE IT immediately

      • Tawanda

        But at times I feel the quality of some Zim graduates is very poor. I work with some degreed guys but the competency in basic comprehension is so poor, one wonders how they obtained their qualifications.

  • Wellington

    Maybe your husband should make that announcement once again, to arrest all those criminals around zimsec

  • Qoqa mqoqi woQalo

    I think its much better to totally do away with English Paper 2 and consider only paper 1 and then raise the bar so that 70% in paper becomes a C.

    • walof

      not everyone cheated bro, you suggestion to use only one paper is a noble one

  • TJINGABABILI

    HEADS ROLLING IN AFRICA!!!!

  • Guest

    I was at University at one point you wonder how someone attained 15 points at A level but failing a simple task or inclass. Somewhere somehow corruption

  • Reggie wa Murehwa

    The “rolling of heads” was long over due. You can imagine the vehicles
    that they purchase instead of using the money for security and other
    examination processes. Nevertheless. In my view, quite a sizeable
    percentage will still retake the examination in the June 2018 session.
    The gross cheating can still be detected in the Paper 2 then the
    candidates found guilty are punished in the other paper option, Paper 1.
    The examinations council cannot “pass” candidates who failed to make
    the grade on merit, that is if the council wishes to observe the
    integrity of the system.