Editor's Comment

Bring fast track courts quickly

David Mabumba.

EXAMINATION malpractices have left a lasting stain on Zambia’s education system.
There is no year that goes by without hearing of teachers, their pupils or a collection of both pupils and teachers being involved in one form of malpractice or the other. In some instances, even parents of the pupils are involves in these misdeeds.
In fact, the leakage of examination papers before a final examination has become the norm.
While there have been measures to prevent examination paper leakages and other malpractices, it has always been a wonder how the final papers find their way in the hands of candidates.
It is sad that the scourge can involve parents, pupils, teachers and some education authorities, who find themselves there for different reasons.
Going by the scale of the scourge, it is commendable that Government is not just folding its arms and watching the situation worsen.
The announcement by Minister of General Education David Mabumba that Government plans to set up fast track courts to deal with people involved in examination malpractices is the way to go.
In making the announcement in Parliament on Friday, Mr Mabumba told the House that Government would sternly deal with anyone involved in examination malpractices.
He said the decision to set up fast track courts is part of strengthening legislation against examination misdeeds.
Government needs to take such a decisive step now to save the nation from a generation of lazy and ‘educated’ people who may not add value to the nation’s development due to lack of knowledge.
Earning qualifications dubiously erodes confidence in the education system.
It is time the confidence levels in the education system were raised by getting rid of examination malpractices and making the law against the offence stronger and punitive action stiffer.
In coming up with the measures to set up fast track courts, Government is aware of all these factors that lead students, teachers and parents to be involved in examination malpractices. The objective is to create a clean system in which everyone has confidence.
Cases of examination malpractices take long to deal with in the ordinary courts because of the backlog of other cases they have to handle.
This can cause difficulties in keeping track of the cases and any measures the courts put in place may not have the desired effect on would-be offenders.
Fast track courts, going by their name, will deal expeditiously with cases of examination malpractices and prevent the commission of more of such offences.
The nation depends on graduates to contribute to development through their knowledge and one wonders how they could do it if they found their way through to key decision-making positions through cheating.
Imagine being operated on by a dubious doctor; or taking your car to a fake mechanic for repairs; or being flown by a half-baked pilot; or taking your children to a school full of teachers with fake qualifications.
Zambia cannot afford to have even one fake professional in its midst at whatever level. That would be courting disaster not only to assets, but also to lives of people.
So the earlier the imitators are weeded out, the better for the country. These fast track courts should quickly be set up to rid society of people who seek fake success.
We all call for stiff punishment of the culprits. This should include jail terms and blacklisting as well as naming and shaming them in public through media publications.
Nothing would be too harsh for such people because their misdeeds are a serious threat to society.

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