The Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) says starting from this year it will never provide specimen in confidential instructions for practical examinations as it has proved to be a catalyst for cheating.
For the past years, teachers in some schools have been accused of abetting cheating by alerting candidates what to anticipate in examinations after receiving confidential instructions.
Speaking on Wednesday in Blantyre during a review and preparation meeting for the 2018 examinations, Maneb Executive Director Gerald Chiunda said evidence has shown that some teachers entrusted with that responsibility were involved in leaking exams.
Other issues that were raised during the meeting which brought together District Education Managers (DEM), Police Officers in charge, District Commissioners and Maneb officials, included late payment of allowances, unsealed strips of examinations, late distribution of identity cards to candidates and the left out of invigilators for minor subjects during payment.
Said Chiunda: “We cannot pretend that all is rosy. We are having problems in terms of leakages of confidential instructions. And if confidential instructions leak, then it means that practical examinations have leaked. And this is where we have brought in reforms.
He said this year they will not do things the usual way. According to Chiunda, they we have isolated 50 items for practical subjects of Agriculture, Biology and Physical Science have already sent instructions to schools so that they procure adequate specimen and chemicals for each candidate in advance.
“We do not want a situation whereby after receiving the confidential instructions teachers should be running around in shops looking for specimen for that raises suspicion,” he said.
Chiunda further said the confidential instructions will only be given to the subject teacher to organise specimen and not information related to names of the chemicals and equipment.
On payment of officers and invigilators, Chiunda reiterated that this year the board will pay in advance all police officers, invigilators and supervisors to avoid any frustrations in the board’s effort in as far as examination management is concerned.
According to Chiunda, Maneb has so far received complaints from two districts of Neno and Chikwawa where invigilators for minor subjects were left out during payment.
On his part Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education Science and Technology Justin Saidi said as a ministry, it is recruiting and providing trainings to more teachers so that they contribute effectively in as far as administration of examinations is concerned.
“This meeting is very critical, mainly because it has brought together people who matter in as far preparing for the forth coming examimations is concerned. As you are aware, national examinations are a national issue and we need to make sure we do the right things,” he said.
According to the projection for 2018, Maneb will require K2.6 billion for the administration of examinations.