Exam malpractices in schools, colleges and universities

Dear editor

Allow me to express my views on examination malpractices in your daily tabloid. It is disheartening to see the increasing number of individuals involved in examination malpractices in Zambia today. But who is to blame for these unfortunate actions?

I feel it’s the teachers, and public institutions mandated to run the affairs of the state ranging from law enforcement agencies to the examining bodies. National development is anchored on producing credible, well trained personnel and not individuals who graduate with fake results and accelerate to higher positions where they fail to perform.
Change begins with having qualified teachers who are given well defined targets to reach in terms of producing results. Most teachers who engage in these malpractices are lazy, not well trained and bent on tarnishing the image of the education system. For government schools, we need to rule out the issue of low salaries and wages as being the cause because government has improved salaries for all civil servants, including teachers.

Secondly, examining bodies such as TEVETA and the Examination Council of Zambia are incapacitated to carry out the huge role of managing the examination system. They cannot reach out to the whole country but only rely on reports from isolated areas where these malpractices happen. I wonder if managers of these institutions have monitoring and evaluation meetings where they assess loopholes, consider changes, come up with innovations or plan to increase their capacities. Resources cannot be a problem since all candidates pay a certain amount of money to sit for these exams.
Handling credible examinations should be an integrated effort from all sectors. The police have a huge role in seeing to it that malpractices are not tolerated and culprits are brought to book. I feel all examination centers should have police officers regardless of whether the school is in a rural area or not. This will make it easier for examination malpractices to be reported and instill fear in all would be offenders.
The coming in of the Teaching Council of Zambia may provide relief as it would help curb malpractices in schools. But with a system that is infiltrated by corruption, nepotism, tribalism and a blotted administration system coupled with bureaucracy, examination malpractices will continue in schools and colleges.
I may sound to be so critical of the system but I believe change is possible and all learners may be confident to write examinations without engaging in malpractices if teachers do their duties diligently. It takes an understanding of the learners’ needs, using correct approaches and methodologies to make learners pass examinations. Hard work and consistency is the only key to success in examinations for both teachers and learners.

Kenneth Mukuka
Nalusanga Secondary School

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