Headmaster fudges pass rates

George Maponga Masvingo Bureau—
Gokomere High School headmaster Mr Stanley Mtsambiwa allegedly routinely diverted examination fees paid academically-challenged pupils to bright ones in a bid to fix the pass rate at the Catholic-run school. Gokomere High is among the best schools in the country. Its pass rate is always above 90 percent for both Ordinary and Advanced levels. The move resulted in some pupils writing subjects they did not pay for at the expense of their less brighter peers.

Mr Mtsambiwa has since been hauled before a disciplinary hearing by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education over the issue. Over 30 pupils deemed less intelligent were prejudiced by their school head’s actions.

They only realised the anomaly when statements of entry showed they had not registered for some subjects yet they had paid to write them. Mr Mtsambiwa also allegedly orchestrated registration of some full-time pupils he deemed not bright as external students in an attempt to keep the “official’’ pass rate at his school high.

He is on suspension pending the outcome of his disciplinary hearing.

Investigations against him started some time last year after a parent whose child was doing Form Four, Mr Munyaradzi Tichaona, raised a red flag to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

He paid exam fees for his daughter to write 10 “O’’ Level subjects only for the statement of entry to show she had registered for nine.

“Mr Mtsambiwa deliberately delayed release of students’ statements of entry to a few weeks before they sat for their final exams so that they would not see the games he was playing. When we confronted him over why our children received their statements of entry very late, he tried to blame Zimsec,’’ said Mr Tichaona.

“We then approached Zimsec only to be told that the statements of entry were availed on time. Further investigations revealed that some students were made to sit for subjects they had not paid for while others failed to sit for subjects they had paid for. Moreover, some full time students were registered as external students and we became suspicious,’’ he added.

Mr Tichaona said Mr Mtsambiwa tried to cover his back by refunding some of the affected pupils their money, but it was too late.

“The only conclusion that we made was that Mr Mtsambiwa was in the habit of manipulating the registration process of final exams in-order to artificially keep the pass rate at Gokomere High School high. He refunded my daughter money for the practical subject that she failed to sit for together with five others. Where did he get that money.’’

‘’It appears the whole plan was to make parents happy by making sure Gokomere High always attained high pass rates in final examinations while the school was being run down through rampant maladministration and embezzlement of school funds,’’said Mr Tichaona.

He said it was shocking that students at a prestigious school like Gokomere High were still using the Blair toilet system despite parents paying $540 a term in fees. Mr Tichaona was the key witness in the hearing against Mr Mtsambiwa with 17 other former students set to also testify against the embattled school head.

Masvingo provincial education director Mr Zedious Chitiga, who is presiding over Mr Mtsambiwa’s hearing, refused to shed light on the matter. He said it would be sub-judice.

‘’We are charging him with the allegations that you have indicated but as you know he is the accused so the full charge sheet is given to him. It will be improper for me to tell you anything before finalisation of the matter,” he said.

‘’Such cases have stages like investigation,suspension, hearing and we are going through those processes after his suspension. We are handling his case in line with our regulations. The case is still being dealt with,’’ said Mr Chitiga.

Efforts to get a comment from Mr Mtsambiwa was fruitless.

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