Representatives of the Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) an alliance of over 81 organizations in Malawi fighting for quality education standards have strongly condemned Malawi National Examination Bard (MANEB) officials for what it they call laxity in their duties which has led to massive leakage examinations for the past ten years including this year’s Malawi Schools Certificate of Education examination.
The education campaigner are therefore calling on government authorities to institute a commission of inquiry into the matter.
In strongly worded statement in possession of Nyasa Times signed by the coalition’s executive director Benedicto Kondowe and its board chairperson MacBain Mkandawire, the organization has criticizes MANEB’s weak systems, operational processes and institutional capacity on management of the examination.
“The massive leakages recorded for the last 10 years indicate the extent to which examination leakage is becoming a lucrative enterprise in Malawi in view of the booming private sector interest and the panic for better grades among learners. There could never be an excuse for such failures. We are particularity concerned because all so called reforms in the examinations management systems have failed to effectively contain examination leakages in the past and this year. This seems to suggest that MANEB as an institution is failing to execute its mandate!”
The statement says while actors in the leakage might be many MANEB has the sole responsibility to safeguard the integrity and credibility of examinations as per its institutional mandate. It says some of the problems contributing to leakage are systems supporting examinations and institutional incapacities from different fronts, technical, financial or human.
“We appreciate the revelation by MANEB that there is a cartel involving police officers, invigilators and private schools owners that is perpetuating leakage and cheating however, we reiterate that failure to curb this is a clear indication of system failure for which MANEB as a custodian of examinations in Malawi should be made accountable,” reads the statement.
The statement says it is unfortunate that MANEB is even failing to provide detailed information as to how many subjects are deemed to have been leaked and at what scale saying this defeats the whole logic behind the acclaimed investigations that MANEB promised to undertake.
“CSEC believes that unless these investigations were a face-saver, any meaningful investigation should not have been blank on subjects believed to have been leaked, the magnitude of leakage and possible sources of leakage. In the view of CSEC could have helped to demystify whether the reported subjects such as Agriculture, Life Skills, Mathematics, English, Biology and Geography were indeed leaked to inform any decision about re-administration of some of the subjects.” says the statement.
However MANEB said in its statement that despite leakages this year’s examinations cannot be re-administered due to funding challenges and in order to avoid penalizing innocent students.
But CSEC is calling upon Government to review MANEB’s decision in consultation with the MANEB Board in view of lack of justifying and compelling evidence on the contrary to support such a decision for not re-administering some of the most leaked papers.