UPDATED: Govt orders O-Level English exam rewrite Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavhima announces Government's decision to have the Ordinary Level English Paper 2 rewritten next Friday following the nullification of results of the first exam after the paper was leaked last year. In his company is the ministry's permanent sectretary Dr Sylvia Utete- Masango during a press briefing in Harare yesterday. - (Picture by Believe Nyakudjara)

Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
CANDIDATES who sat for the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) Ordinary Level English Paper 2 examination in November last year are set to rewrite the paper next Friday after it was discovered by authorities that widespread cheating took place .

Addressing a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima said the ministry regretted the inconvenience caused. He, however, said the move was worthwhile as it preserves the integrity of the examinations system.

“I would like to advise the nation that the November 2017 Ordinary Level English Language Paper 2 examination will be retaken on Friday 16 February 2018 from 1000 hours to 1200 hours. All results for the November 2017 English Language Paper 2 have been nullified. This follows widespread cheating in this paper, exacerbated by the social media, and identified during the November 2017 examination session.

“It was reported in the Press during the examination and subsequently validated during the marking of the candidate scripts. I regret the inconvenience and general stakeholder dissatisfaction that this decision will cause.

“I would want to emphasise that this drastic decision has been arrived at after painstaking and agonising consideration. In the final analysis, the decision has been necessitated by the need to maintain and preserve the integrity of the National Examination System,” said Prof Mavima.

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He said there was no alternative.

“It is regrettable that some innocent candidates will be inconvenienced by this remedial action, but the circumstances of the cheating left no other alternative.”

Prof Mavima said candidates, who had sat for the examination, were required to report to their 2017 examination centres to write the examination. He said candidates who had been informed of cancellation of results due to cheating during the examinations in all subjects or English Language only should not rewrite this English Language Paper 2 — and that includes those who were prosecuted and sentenced.

Minister Mavima said it should be noted that: – all candidates who sat for the English Language Paper 2 Examination were required to re-write the examination at their original examination centres; candidates are prohibited from re-sitting the examination at any other examination centre other than the examination centre of their original registration in 2017; any candidates who cheat in the examination will have all their results nullified; and no examination fees would be paid for the re-sit.

He said heads of examination centres should take full charge and not delegate to their subordinates the running of the examination at their centres; examination centres should not admit candidates from other examination centres intending to re-sit for the examination at their centres; all examination centres had been notified; ZIMSEC and the Ministry would not be held responsible for any failure by any candidate to re-write this examination; and all examination regulations and conditions would be applied. Minister Mavima warned against cheating in examinations.

“ZIMSEC and the Ministry would like to take this opportunity to warn all candidates and those members of our society who continue to involve themselves in examination malpractice that they risk prosecution and candidates risk nullification of their results,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the release of the 2017 Ordinary Level results have been put on hold until the English Language Paper 2 has been taken, marked and integrated with the rest of the examination.”

According to ZIMSEC, over 260 000 candidates sat for the examination. Zimsec director Mr Esau Nhandara said the board would ensure that results are released in the shortest time possible.

“We want to assure the nation that after the writing of the examination for English Language Paper 2 on the 16th, our logistical arrangement is – we should take back on the same day the scripts that have been written to come to ZIMSEC for marking.

“If that happens, we want to give it a week to mark then the exact details of when the results will be announced will be worked out from there but we are looking at a situation where the shortest possible time is going to be effected to get this process underway,” he said.

Mr Nhandara could not reveal the costs associated with a resit of the examination only saying ‘integrity was expensive, but it is not much – it can be a few hundreds of thousands”. He said Zimsec does not have the final figures as yet.


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