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Weeding out exam malpractice

NEWS of the nullification of almost 9,500 examination results for General Certificate of Education (GCE) by the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) because of examination malpractices by candidates is disheartening. As if that was not bad enough, 24 teachers suspected to have been involved in 2022 Grade 12 GCE and Grade Nine external examinations malpractices have been reported to the Ministry of Education for disciplinary action. ECZ director Michael Chilala announced in Lusaka last week that out of 67 whole centre cases, 11 schools have had their GCE examination centre status suspended for two years due to their involvement in multiple malpractices. It is sad to note that some teachers might also be involved in examination malpractices instead of instilling positive morals in learners. In a school, teachers are role models that learners look up to who due to their influential position can influence attitudes, values and behaviours. Teachers are not only educators; they are role models who inspire and motivate learners outside the classroom as much as they impart academic knowledge inside it. Teachers ought to lead by example by inspiring their learners to live meaningful and honest lives in order to succeed in their endeavours. It is imperative for the ministry to root out bad eggs that are messing up the sector. If allowed to continue, they will do more harm to learners, some of whom are gullible due to various reasons. The nullifications have also led to the suspension of GCE examination centre status for 11 schools for two years. This will inconvenience genuine learners within those localities.
Affected learners will have to find other centres to write their examinations from, which can be time-consuming especially for those who are already busy. The centres will always be associated with the infamy examination malpractices and the assumption that everyone from a particular centre cheated; even the innocent ones. As always noted, some learners do not realise that exam malpractices diminish the quality of education because it allows the undeserving learners to succeed at the expense of those who are hard-working and deserving. This problem manifests itself in the workplace, where some people fail to perform because they do not possess the academic knowledge which can affect the economic growth of a nation.
It is necessary for the ministry and relevant stakeholders to come up with a mechanism to punish those involved in examination malpractices such as blacklisting them for a period of time as a penalty for bad behaviour. It is not enough to only punish the examination centres found wanting. Individuals involved, whether teachers of learners, should be held accountable.
There have been cases where those involved in examination malpractices have been allowed to proceed; a practice that is disappointing for learners who put in their best to pass their examinations. Nine thousand five hundred is too huge a number for nullifications. This is an indication of how the practice is engrained in the education system, and is a source of great concern. Parents equally have an important role to ensure that their children do not indulge in examination malpractice.
There have been incidences where parents are the ones who abet the practice instead of leading by example as role models to their children. For the sector to improve and offer quality education to learners, all examination centres must be zero-tolerant to examination malpractices. Remember, children are our future. Until next week, take care.

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