Editor's Comment

Let’s avoid exam malpractices

IT is examination time again in Zambia. Grades seven pupils start their examination on Monday.  Grade 10 pupils and grade 12 pupils are also scheduled to take their final examinations in a few days’ time.
The question that immediately comes to mind is, “are this year’s examinations going to manifest in the malpractices that have characterised final examinations of the previous years?”
Though we have not yet heard of any leakages of examination papers, this may not mean that there are no leakages. But it would be an honour for the country to have 2014 stand out as an examination malpractice free year.
However, it is important for all those who are involved with examinations to guard against leakage of examination material at all levels, from the top to the bottom.
There is also need for all involved, that is parents, examination officers, teachers and pupils to work together and bring to zero the vice that is fast devouring society’s moral fibre.
Parents have the responsibility to ensure that their children in examination classes start preparing for the finals examinations early.
They should ensure that their children proverbially, burn the midnight oil.
On their part, parents should be honourable enough to keep away from underhand practices to aid their children to pass final examinations by smuggling any leaked examination papers.
One does not expect a child in an examination class to do everything else and abandon reading and preparing for the examination.
Sadly for some children, this may be the case and they only come face to face with reality a few days before the examination.
The realisation that they are ill-equipped may make them resort to devising other means, like seeking out leaked material so that they, per adventure, make it to the other side.
Officials in the education sector have the task to ensure the final examinations are malpractice free by putting in place stern measures to prevent leakages while ensuring that severe sanctions are taken against erring officers.
Examination leakages do not just involve the theft of examination papers from a strong room where they are securely locked.
A leakage can take the form of an invigilator assisting children by subtly giving them answers.
And this is where some private schools have been at fault.  In their quest to record a high pass rate and attract more enrolments the following year, some private schools find ways of making children go for the correct answers and eventually attain high marks in their schools.
Examination Leakages diminish the authenticity of examinations while lowering the standard of education.
There is an eventual loss of faith in the education system.
Leaking examination material encourages laziness and corruption, a vice that the country continues to grapple with.
We therefore want all involved, parents, teachers, officials, and the candidates themselves to stand as one and say a big  “no” to examination leakages this year.
The June final examinations, which were taken for the first time in Zambia this year, showed to a great extent, that examinations can be malpractice free.
Should this not happen again this time? We can make it happen and this is incumbent upon all those involved – parents, teachers, officials, and the candidates.
Through giving final examinations, a sifting process is conducted so that Zambia fashions future leaders who can ably contribute to development by articulating issues and pushing the right agenda.
There is need to groom hard working leaders who have proved themselves capable by taking authentic examinations. This is a sure sign that they will be able to excel in their vocations.

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