The Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) has described the administration of the 2019 Malawi School Leaving Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations as more successful compared to previous years.
Maneb executive director Gerald Chiunda, in an interview on the sidelines of an MSCE awards meeting held at Maneb headquarters in Zomba on Wednesday, attributed the success to new mechanisms the examinations body put in place.
He said during this year’s examinations, Maneb kept all examination scripts at its offices in the four cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu which were delivered on daily basis to examination centres close by and were taken back afterwards.
In districts, the examination scripts were delivered on weekly basis, a development Chiunda said enabled Maneb to register zero-leakage unlike in previous years.
He said: “In terms of cheating, this year we have had only five cases registered whereas last year we had about 153 cases, so you can appreciate that this year we had successful examination in terms of administration.”
Chiunda added that availability of resources also allowed Maneb to have smooth preparations as they had a constant flow of money from Treasury; hence, they were able to make all necessary payments, saying there are no debts accumulated so far.
However, he said this year saw a few candidates registering for the examinations, a development he attributed to the new curriculum that forced external candidates not to register.
But in a separate interview, Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) executive director Benedicto Kondowe said there is need for more transparency in the administration of examinations and that Maneb should continue to ensure that the schedules for writing the examinations and releasing results are adhered to.
The MSCE awards meeting drew stakeholders from various institutions such as the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), chief examiners and external examiners.
Among the external examiners were five from national examining agencies of Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Lesotho and South Africa.
The awards meeting discussed the grading system of MSCE results and also determined what grade the pass rate should be, among other things.
An external examiner from South Africa, Nkoloyakhe Mpanza, described the meeting as important as it gave fairness and credibility to the results and also allows for the exchange of expertise from different countries. Only 98 332 candidates registered in this year’s MSCE examinations, a huge drop from last year which had 209 000 registered candidates.