BY MOSES MATENGA/NHAU MANGIRAZI
MEMBERS of Parliament on Wednesday demanded that Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema must explain the issue of the Geography paper examination boob and the fact that children at rural schools ended up writing examinations under candlelight at night.
Norton MP Temba Mliswa (independent) demanded that Mathema must explain the boob where students had to write the Ordinary Level Geography paper with incomplete material.
The independent MP also demanded that Mathema explain why some papers were delivered late forcing students at rural areas to write under candlelight.
The issue of the “sham” examination was validated by the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe in an interview with NewsDay on Wednesday, who said the chaos, also affected the Ndebele and Mathematics examinations for the visually-impaired.
Mathema was, however, absent in the House as MPs demanded answers, saying that the chaos was disturbing.
“Madam Speaker, the question I have to the Primary and Secondary Education minister is a very disturbing one. I have just been informed in my constituency that the ‘O’ Level Geography examination that was written yesterday had no map and they proceeded to write examinations without a map.
“May the responsible minister respond as to why they went ahead with examinations for Geography without a map? What Geography is it when you have no map?”
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Magwegwe legislator Anele Ndebele (MDC Alliance) also questioned why Mathema has not been fired over the exam boob.
But the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Tsitsi Gezi said their questions were specific and, therefore, Mathema will need time to investigate the issue and come up with a detailed response in the House.
Mliswa could have none of it, saying: “Madam Speaker, this question is very clear. The minister is aware that examinations are being written and this is urgent. It actually requires you, the chair to demand for that answer now because how many more examinations are going to be written without the necessary requirements? So it actually requires an urgent intervention.”
MPs then demanded that Mathema must issue a comprehensive ministerial statement over the boob.
In their response, the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) blamed their external printer who did the printing of the examination papers.
Zimsec spokesperson Nicolette Dhlamini said: “It is unfortunate that this was caused by our external printer. It was an oversight by the printer who was not familiar that some maps were left out in some exam papers. It is not an issue that Zimsec was not prepared for these exams. We are well-prepared for the examinations.
“It is true that some schools were affected. The main challenge was that our external printer was not familiar on how these maps would be inserted for the exams. There were several schools affected in every district, but as Zimsec, we were well-prepared for the exams even after the June exams. The disturbances that happened when schools began to open made it difficult for us in the sense that we were waiting for confirmation to go ahead with examinations. It is not an issue of preparedness,” Dhlamini argued.