Exam Results Withheld Over Suspected Cheating
3 February 2023
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ABOUT 195 candidates, some of them from Manicaland, are in limbo after their Zimbabwe School Examination Council (ZIMSEC)’s November 2022 Advanced Level results were withheld over suspected cases of irregularities and malpractices, The Manica Post can reveal.
The ‘A’ Level results were released on January 13, and three weeks on, the affected candidates are yet to access their results.

Section 34 of the ZIMSEC Act, Chapter 25:18, empowers the exam regulating body to annul results for candidates who had pre-access to examination papers to uphold the integrity of the examinations system in the country.

It reads: “. . . the board may cancel or postpone any examination or annul the results of any examination, either throughout Zimbabwe or in respect of any examination centre or area within Zimbabwe, if the board is satisfied that— (a) an unauthorised person has obtained access to any examination material; or (b) the contents of any examination material have been revealed to an unauthorised person; or (c) there has been an impersonation of a candidate sitting the examination or any other form of fraud or dishonest conduct in regard to the examination; or (d) any rule or regulation governing the examination has been contravened; and that it is necessary to cancel or postpone the examination or annul the results, as the case may be, in order to preserve the integrity of the examination system in Zimbabwe.”

On Wednesday, ZIMSEC spokesperson, Ms Nicholette Dlamini confirmed that results for hundreds of ‘A’ Level candidates are being withheld.

Ms Dlamini said affected candidates have 42 days to query for their results through their respective exam centres or schools.

It is understood that a number of schools in Mutare, Rusape, Chipinge and Mutasa have already approached ZIMSEC over the withheld results.

Over 100 learners and ZIMSEC officials from different parts of the country were arrested in connection with the leakage of ‘O’ Level Mathematics Papers 1 and 2; as well as English Paper 2 and some ‘A’ Level papers.

Ms Dlamini said some candidates, individual supervisors, invigilators, exam administrators and members of the public found culpable of aiding such vices were arrested and appeared before the courts.

Exam centre administrators who were the source of the leakage were also arrested.

Kudakwashe Betserai of Masvingo was arrested in Mutare after he fraudulently registered a SIM Card in the name of ZIMSEC, before going on to advertise that he had the capacity to replace lost certificates at a replacement fee of US$150.

Betserai masqueraded as a ZIMSEC official and was found selling fake certificates and some question papers.

He was therefore charged with fraud and contravening Section 35(a) and (b) of the ZIMSEC Act, Chapter 25:18, for unlawfully gaining access or revealing contents of examination material.

The matter is still pending before the courts.

Six Gaza High School (Chipinge) learners – Musuthu Sithole, Brian Cossan, James Hlanguyo, Ashad Sibiya, Tazwa Zibuke and Takudzwa Mubohera – were convicted by a Chipinge magistrate and were slapped with suspended jail terms and community service sentences.

The six had their results withheld, a development confirmed by school head, Mr Stanley Thondlana.

The school has been approached by the six to query for their results, a process being followed by many schools in the province.

Said Ms Dlamini: “A total of 195 candidates had their results withheld for the ‘A’ Level 2022 examination session. Results are withheld in cases of suspected malpractice. This indicates that the results cannot be issued at present, but may follow after investigations are conducted. The centre or school will be informed of the outcome.

“If a candidate wishes to make a query of their results, there is a provision to do so within 42 days from the release of the results. This should be done in writing through the school. Candidates who have been found guilty of examination malpractice can register to sit in another session and write their examinations.”

ZIMSEC issued a statement on October 17, 2022, informing the nation that some candidates had pre-access to some question papers.

Another statement was issued on October 20, 2022, giving an update on the investigations into the matter.

The leaked question papers were shared on various social media platforms, including WhatsApp and Telegram.

In light of the leakages, Ms Dlamini said ZIMSEC has tightened the security of question papers, whether during transit to exam centres or when they get there, adding that the police will remain on guard to wipe out any residual unscrupulous elements within the chain.

Deputy Manicaland Provincial Education Director, Mr Simon Muganhu said while every exam cycle is synonymous with missing results, the numbers have gone up, adding that the rot is likely to be worse at ‘O’ Level.

“It becomes exceptional if at all exam results are not withheld, but this year, it was worse because a number of schools in Manicaland were involved in exam malpractices. In cases where the misdemeanour is prosecuted and conviction secured, the results will be cancelled. Since ‘A’ Level results are a stepping stone to tertiary education, it means the affected candidates will not be able to proceed until they acquire clean results.

“A significant number of schools in Mutare, Rusape and Chipinge were implicated and some cases are before the courts while others wereu concluded. The rot is likely to be worse at ‘O’ Level because that is where many cases were reported,” said Mr Muganhu.

However, school heads have blamed ZIMSEC for the recurring examination leakages that seem to be undermining the integrity of the country’s public examinations.

National Association of Secondary Heads (NASH) chair, Mr Arthur Maphosa is on record saying the leakage of examinations is unfair on candidates, teachers and parents who would have worked hard to prepare for the examinations, only for them to be nullified. —Manica Post