Windhoek – The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa has applauded learners and teachers, as no single case of suspected exam cheating was recorded during the external exams last year.
Over the years the ministry has been rocked by several cases of exam cheating or leaks during the external national examinations for Grade 10 and 12 where students were caught with leaked papers and ended up with similar exam scripts, which could be a sign they also got assistance from teachers.
“It’s a commendable thing. We need to keep our exams credible so that whoever is going through the system as a successful candidate is not a cheater but someone who deservedly got those achievements.”
In 2015, the ministry investigated 82 learners suspected of cheating during their external exams in October and November.
At the time, the Director of National Examinations and Assessment, Cavin Nyambe, had said learners “might have had some form of assistance in mathematics, physical science and keyboard and word processing”.
Their answer scripts were suspicious because pupils apparently gave the same answers word for word, whether they were wrong or right.
“We had those instances in the past. Amazingly this year I did not receive any single report concerning cheating or any suspicion of cheating during exams. That is because of the stringent measures we’ve put in place in terms of keeping the credibility of our exams,” Hanse-Himarwa said.
She said the ministry had given strict orders to regional examination officers to oversee and invigilate properly to avoid exam cheating.
Further, she said the ministry was under pressure to ensure no cheating took place due to the two-day national teachers’ strike late last year that interrupted some exam schedules.
Past experiences also showed that some students had the same tendency of leaving certain questions unanswered in their scripts.
Examination leaks are not new to Namibia and occur yearly either in Grade 10 or 12 and even at university where lecturers leak papers to students.
During 2014, three boxes containing Grade 10 exam papers vanished into thin air while being transported to Eenhana at the back of a pickup truck, which had a canopy, to be stored at the education directorate’s offices.
Question papers stolen included English papers one and two, geography papers one and two and a life science paper.
Meanwhile, the same year (2014) a handful of University of Namibia (Unam) students were left fuming after they discovered at the last minute that they would not be able to sit for one of their Faculty of Economics and Management Science modules following allegations the question papers had been leaked.
Over the years Unam management has often declared some key modules during exams as null and void, following allegations that certain exam papers had been leaked.
During 2013, the Grade 12 results of 373 students from eight regions were withheld because it was suspected that they had prior access to question and answer papers before they sat for their final examinations.
Of these students, 272 were from the Zambezi, 84 from Khomas, four each from the Omusati and Kavango regions, three from Oshana, two from Ohangwena and one from Erongo.