alawi National Examinations Board (MANEB) officials were recently quoted in the press explaining their positions on allegations that the 2012 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations leaked.
MANEB’s Director of Research and Tests Development, Gerald Chiunda, was quoted by one publication saying: “The allegations of massive leakage were serious enough to warrant serious investigations. We need to learn what happened and action to be taken will depend on the gravity of the problem.”
Newly appointed MANEB Executive Director, Roy Hauya, was said: “The decision to re-administer national examinations depends on the magnitude of leakage and other factors. Such a decision can only be arrived at where all mechanisms for addressing investigated malpractices at assessment stage are inadequate to maintain the integrity of the whole examinations and safeguard the majority of candidates who are innocent.”
Hauya also said police had arrested 20 candidates, three police officers and three teachers who were allegedly involved in the malpractice.
These developments suggest a problem. MANEB in conjunction with the Ministry of Education Science and Technology should act quickly in order to uncertainty among all the stakeholders.
Students don’t know if they have to re-write the examinations. Cancelling the examination and ordering students to retake the exam is not only torture but unjust. Students work hard to prepare for the examinations.
Consider that candidates will have to be in schools for a minimum of eight weeks if they are to retake the exam. Parents will have to pay the cost as well since they will have to pay more for their kids to prepare one more time.
MANEB just like the Ministry of Education Science and Technology should also be worried. It’s not easy to re-administer the examination. They will have to source money from tax payers to pay the printer in United Kingdom, transporters, supervisors, invigilators, among others. All in all what I am saying is that re-administering examinations is expensive in terms of money and time.
On the other hand, if indeed it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that there was leakage, and MANEB does not re-administer the examination, the integrity of the whole examination board is at stake.
People will lose the tattered trust they have in MANEB. I am saying tattered trust because other institutions such as University of Malawi, if they had total trust in MANEB, there would be no such a thing as university entrance examinations. MANEB has the responsibility to safeguard its integrity.
Politically, someone will also suffer. The Banda government had better be ready for this one as opposition figures will attack.
So, if indeed it is proved that there was massive leakage of the examination, having students retake the exam seems to be a sensible way out. In 2007, students retook the exam after experiencing similar problems.
MANEB must rebuild and jealously protest its integrity. There's need for stiff penalties to act as a deterrent to would-be offenders. If MANEB does nothing, expect similar problems in future.
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