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Government directive on coursework sparks debate

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A recent government directive compelling colleges to ensure coursework contributes 60% of students’ total final marks has generated heated debate with lecturers arguing the system was open to abuse.

On Sunday, College Lecturers’ Association (Colaz) said students can now obtain a pass mark even without sitting for final year examinations.
Colaz president David Dzatsunga said the system negated the concept of merit as coursework could be manipulated.

“It is a negation of the spirit of merit. Coursework is subject to a lot of abuse like favouritism, nepotism and other forms and it means sitting for an exam would no longer be necessary,” said Dzatsunga.

He said the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education never consulted stakeholders prior to the introduction of the system. Lecturers from different institutions said the directive was ill-advised and was tantamount to tearing down the examination system.

“Now with this new system, candidates pass on aggregate.

“This simply means that a candidate with 60% coursework only needs to get into the examination room to be marked present and afford to get zero, thus rendering the final examinations irrelevant and useless,” said Colaz.

“It seems this new policy is being implemented clandestinely without proper consultations with the stakeholders.

“It encourages corruption and production of low-calibre graduates who may be shunned by prospective employers.”

But the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education maintained the system was in the best interest of students.

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