THE Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec) has withdrawn the 13 papers for six Ordinary Level subjects that have gone missing and suspected to have been leaked before next month’s examinations.
Report by Phillip Chidavaenzi
An official at Sijawuke Secondary School in Bubi district, Matabeleland North, lost examination papers for six “O” Level subjects over the weekend. The papers went missing after the school’s acting headmaster collected them from the Zimsec provincial office in Bulawayo and was en route to his school on board a commuter omnibus.
Zimsec board chairperson Professor Norman Maphosa yesterday called on stakeholders not to panic over the incident as the papers would be replaced and the examination timetables adjusted.
“Zimsec is aware of and regrets the anxiety this incident may have caused to candidates, parents, guardians and other stakeholders. We would like to assure them the examinations will proceed without any disruption,” Maphosa said, adding that they were still investigating how the papers went missing.
The council’s public relations manager Ezekiel Pasipamire said it was standard procedure to have three sets of papers in case of a leakage.
“We have an item bank where we have standby question papers. We have three different sets of question papers and when something like this happens, we pull out another one and print. Printing is in progress,” he said.
He added that the papers would be delivered to all the examination centres in time because the leaked papers’ dates were still far off.
Zimsec acting director Esau Nhandara said the running of examinations was the joint responsibility of the examinations board and the Education, Sport, Arts and Culture ministry.
“After collection of papers, their custody falls into the hands of the examination centre. Our regulations specify in writing that the centre must secure the papers,” he said.
The missing question papers are English Language Papers 1 and 2 (18 copies), Geography Papers 1 and 2 (16 copies), Ndebele Papers 1 and 2 (16 copies), Mathematics (non-calculators) Papers 1 and 2 (18 copies), Integrated Science Papers 1-3 (30 copies) and Commerce Papers 1 and 2 (20 copies).
All the “O” Level papers for this year’s November examinations were printed at a total cost of $996 000.
Zimsec has a total of 20 118 “O” Level centres countrywide.
A total of 286 343 candidates are due to sit for the exams this year, up from 254 000 who did so last year.