ECZ Director Chilala questioned as Chaos reigns following Grade 7, 9 & 12 Exams cancellation

Minister of General Educations, David Mabumba has confirmed that his ministry has postponed all grade 7, 9 and 12 examinations until further notice due to examination malpractices following the leaking of grade 9 mathematics paper 2 examination on an anti-government social media page.

Mabumba announced the suspension of Exams at a media briefing in Lusaka. The General Education minister said that investigations have been instituted to ascertain the extent of the alleged malpractice.

The announcement followed the emergency meeting that the ministry of general education had with ECZ where the ECZ Director, Michael Chilala and his management team were summoned and quizzed.

The education minister explained that the Examination Council of Zambia – ECZ and the Ministry of General Education received notifications on the evening of 22nd October 2018 that the 2018 mathematics paper 2 examination had been leaked and posted on social media.

ECZ which is headed by Michael Chilala immediately reported the matter to the officer at the office of the president, the permanent secretary, administration in the office of the general education and other stake holders.

ECZ then arranged to verify the authenticity of the circulated material. The verification process took place at the ECZ strong room around 22:45 hours and that the process was conducted by four (4) ECZ officials in the presence of two (2) Zambian police officers.

Upon comparing the circulated material with that he the ECZ storage it was noted that indeed the 2018 mathematics paper 2 was leaked on online social media.

Mabumba added that the council management and the ministry working with government investigation wing have been instructed to take remedial measures, mitigate the situation and thoroughly investigate the matter and bring the perpetuators to book.

While the measures above are been administered, ECZ has postponed all grade 7, 9 and 12 examinations until further notice.

While this postponement is a short term solution to a cancer that has been growing, there is need for the investigative wings to get to the bottom of the leakages which have been sparingly reported over the years.

The damage that this leak and postponement is doing to Zambia’s much respected education system both within the Africa region and internationally can not be under-estimated. Forget about the massive cost to the treasury to reproduce and reprint this batch of Exam papers. think about the affected children and candidates who had prepared, the psychological effects on this postponement, the damage is unquantifiable.

First and foremost, the ECZ leadership have to take the responsibility for this mess. The ultimate responsibility to put in place systems that should stem the leakages lies wth the ECZ director and his management team.

There will definitely be attempts by ECZ to blame this failure on junior officers and use them as scape gots but management team should take full responsibility. If its the junior officers, then the management should have discovered these leaked and fired these officers in the first place.

Where there are reported and confirmed cases of leakages, there should be and have been through investigation to find the route cause and the affected leaking points sealed as a continuous improvement process.

The printing of Examination papers in South Africa also should raise concern on weather the leak is emerging from the printing presses. The storage and transportation from the printers to Zambia and later to the schools that administer these exams all need to be examined and route cause identified and sealed.

An education system can only retain credibility when its products, the certificates, are awarded on merit. This leak perhaps is an eye opener to a cancer that needs attention from the highest authority in Zambia. A general Education system is the bedrock of not only the economy, but social and cultural systems of Zambia.