Govt gets tough on exam cheating

The Minister of Education Agnes NyaLonje has disclosed that the current administration is devising stringent measures to decisively deal with factors that have lately contributed to the lowering of standards of education in Malawi.

NyaLonje said some of the measures have already started bearing fruits, citing an end to examination leakage, which were the order of the day during the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regimes.

Minister of Education, Agnes NyaLonje.

The minister made the remarks at Kamuzu Palace Community Day Secondary School after appreciating the start of this year’s Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) examinations.

NyaLonje said President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera envisages an education sector that thrives on quality and dedication of both teachers and learners.

“That’s why my ministry and the Malawi National Examinations Board are working closely together to ensure security of the examinations. As education sector, we have assured security of the examinations all round,” she said.

NyaLonje vowed that there would be no cases of ‘stealing of examination papers’ going forward.

“But if there are, we are ready to deal with it,” she assured.

During the UDF and DPP administrations, examination papers were being offered for sale on the public markets. In November 2007, for instance, education authorities were forced to nullify the results of examinations sat by 80, 000 students after it emerged that copies of the papers were leaked and sold beforehand to some pupils.

The examinations, which were printed in South Africa under tight security, were leaked in Malawi when they were delivered and sold on the streets days before students, under the watchful eye of police.

Officials at MANEB denied that copies were leaked, yet dozens of people were arrested while selling the exam papers.

In 2000, similar examinations were cancelled when some papers were leaked and sold on the streets, forcing the then president Bakili Muluzi to fire MANEB chief executive, Meria Nowa-Phiri.

And in a recent scenario, President Chakwera was forced to fire MANEB Executive Director Gerald Chiunda following a leakage of the examination papers.

Chiunda was later arrested for alleged involvement in the leakage. The matter is still in court.

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