Govt gets tough on exam cheating
Some of the measures, according to NyaLonje, have already begun to bear fruit, citing an end to examination leakage.
Malawi: Agnes NyaLonje, Malawi's Minister of Education, has revealed that the current administration is devising stringent measures to deal decisively with factors that have recently contributed to the lowering of educational standards in Malawi, writes Watipaso Mzungu.
Some of the measures, according to NyaLonje, have already begun to bear fruit, citing an end to examination leakage, which was common during the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regimes.
After applauding the start of this year's Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) examinations, the minister made the remarks at Kamuzu Palace Community Day Secondary School.
According to NyaLonje, President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera envisions an education sector based on the quality and dedication of both teachers and students.
"That is why my ministry and the Malawi National Examinations Board are collaborating closely to ensure exam security. As an education sector, we have ensured the security of the exams all around," she said.
NyaLonje promised that there would be no more cases of "stealing of examination papers" in the future.
"But if there are any, we will deal with them," she assured.
Examination papers were for sale on public markets during the UDF and DPP administrations. In November 2007, for example, education authorities were forced to annul the results of 80, 000 students' examinations after it was discovered that copies of the papers had been leaked and sold to some students beforehand.
The exams, which were printed under tight security in South Africa, were leaked in Malawi when they were delivered and sold on the streets days before students, under the watchful eye of the police.
Although MANEB officials denied that copies were leaked, dozens of people were arrested while selling the exam papers.
Similar exams were canceled in 2000 after some papers were leaked and sold on the streets, forcing then-President Bakili Muluzi to fire MANEB CEO Meria Nowa-Phiri.
In a more recent scenario, President Chakwera was forced to fire MANEB Executive Director Gerald Chiunda after examination papers were leaked.
Chiunda was later arrested on suspicion of leaking information. The case is still pending in court.