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Exam cheating must be stopped

Exam cheating must be stopped

How such students found their way to secondary schools is a puzzle. Still it may not be too early to judge. It must have been through cheating and leakage of examinations, a misconduct that must not be allowed to gain ground.

Last week, the Deputy Minister for National Education, Mr Philipo Mulugo, “shocked” parliament when he declared that exam cheating was a calamity and that it was rampant in public schools, where 300 of them were founded to have been involved in the scam last year. Some 32 more were private schools.

The deputy minister, who condemned the malpractice, appealed to the public for help to curb the vice, saying everyone must play a role to rid the nation of such shame.

However, when the National Examination of Tanzania (NECTA) annulled the results of some 9,736 candidates in last year’s Standard Seven examinations, the same public, which includes parents, guardians and activists, appealed for clemency in an attempt to help absolve the pupils who, with the help of unscrupulous people gained access to papers before the actual date they were supposed to sit.

NECTA responded with compassion, allowing 9,629 of the culprits to re-sit the examinations next September. The problem of exam leakage and cheating is gradually showing its negative consequences in secondary schools. Soon, the country might be compelled to revive Adult Education for Form Four leavers, which was conducted in the 1960s when many people didn’t know how to read and write.

Worse still, if the so-called illiterate secondary school students get hold of NECTA’s Form Four exams, chances are they might “pass” and penetrate the job market. The consequences would be more devastating as the country might have to deal with “illiterate” doctors, nurses and many other professions.

It would have been wise if NECTA had been hard on the exam cheats. Stern action should have been taken against everyone who, in one way or the other, was involved in tampering with examinations. The burden of teaching illiterate students is unfairly being shifted to secondary schools, but that would not have happened if the exam cheating loophole had been plugged.

ON December 9th this year, Tanzanians will ...

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Mwandishi: EDITOR

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