Editor's Comment

CCTV good, but not only solution

THAT Government will soon review the Ministry of General Education and the Examinations Council of Zambia’s (ECZ) role in the management of examinations at primary and secondary school levels, is something that must rekindle various stakeholders’ hopes and trust in the education system.
Over the years, exams have been marred by increasing incidents of leakages despite law enforcement agencies and education officials working together to ensure culprits, including some teachers and students, are punished after being found guilty of involving themselves in the vice.
This year has been the worst, to say the least, as evidenced by the leaked papers that were ‘flowing freely’ on social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp, forcing Government to take the bold decision to suspend grades seven, nine and 12 exam sessions.
However, despite measures such as changing examination papers for candidates, with police having cornered several individuals who were involved in the exam leakages in different parts of the country, many people still expressed doubt about the credibility of the whole process as exams resumed two weeks later.
Their doubts could be justified because there are still some loopholes through which papers have continued leaking along the way right from the source to the final place where they are kept before the learners are tested.
Government’s plan to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems in schools countrywide, next year, should therefore be supported by everyone who wants to see an education system that works to instill a sense of hard work and truthfulness among both educators and learners.
There is need to always emphasise such principles and values aimed at helping citizens to positively contribute to national development.
The installation of the cameras will, no doubt, enable ECZ and its partners, including school administrations, to effectively monitor activities and thwart leakages of exam material. It is good that ECZ will have the full mandate of overseeing these examinations in the country as Government implements measures to curb exam malpractice.
Allowing several players to handle examination processes in schools may simply worsen the situation to such an extent that some individuals will take it as an opportunity to cash in on exam papers, while students will perceive it as a ‘gateway’ to the future. If this becomes the norm, then we are doomed as a country.
All stakeholders who have stood to fight against exam malpractice know that a good education is the gateway to success. And measures such as installation of cameras in schools beginning next year, as announced by Minister of General Education David Mabumba in Mumbwa on Saturday, will indeed go a long way in promoting the kind of education system required to produce and nurture productive citizens.
Mr Mabumba said since the cameras in schools will be connected to the ECZ system, anyone entering strongrooms or storerooms where examination papers are kept will be seen immediately. So, those thieves who had made it a habit to steal exams every year should now know that the ‘field day’ which they had awarded themselves is almost over.
Actually, Mr Mabumba appealed to “all teachers who were involved in examination malpractice to ask God for forgiveness because that was a huge betrayal. The entire nation has been betrayed”.
In a Christian nation like ours, morals must be upheld by all if we are to move to higher heights in terms of development. So, with or without CCTV in schools, teachers should make it a point to ensure they are proud of themselves as they teach pupils who will pass exams without leakages.
In fact, the authorities should always be on guard against such malpractices because it is unlikely that all these examinations cheats will back away. Some are likely to continue to try to find a way around this new effort to stem, if not stop, the vice.
It is a war that will certainly continue, but one that authorities and law-abiding citizens must keep trying hard to win.

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