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Parents voice concern over exam disqualifications

Wednesday November 25 2020
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By The Citizen Reporter

Some parents whose children were disqualified by the National Examinations Council of Tanzania (Necta) over alleged cheating in this year’s Standard Seven national examination have called on the government to revisit the decision.

Announcing the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results on Saturday, Necta executive secretary Charles Msonde said results of 1,059 pupils from 38 primary schools have been invalidated, adding that those affected would not be allowed re-sit the examination.

>>Standard VII result click here

He also said that there were 71 Form Four examination centres that had prepared to also cheat in the final exams commencing today across the country.

Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, some parents of pupils at Chabutwa Primary School in Sikonge District, Tabora Region, said it was unfair to punish pupils for crimes committed by their teachers.

Their counterparts from Ng’arita and Nyawa primary schools in Bariadi District, Simiyu Region, said their worries were that the girl-victims will end in child marriages.

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“Not only does the decision kill the academic dreams of the pupils; it also increases costs to parents who would be required to seek alternative education for their children,” said one of the parents on condition of anonymity.

He added: “I have been buying textbooks and paying tuition fees in order to improve the performance of my child. But, today, they have been punished for offences committed by the teachers.”

Mr John Maduhu suggested that special examinations should be given to the victims to identify pupils who were to benefit from cheating.

Mr Maduhu was seconded by Mr Hamis Rajab who said teachers and some of the parents deserved the punishment, but not the pupils.

A teacher who preferred anonymity said struggles for best school rankings, as well as a desire for money and promotion, were major causes for teachers’ involvement in exams cheating.

A parent with a pupil victim in Ng’arita Primary School, Mr Masalu Machibya, said the decision will retard efforts to promote girls’ education in livestockkeeper’s communities.

“My dream to be provided with secondary education has vanished. There are threats that my child could be lured by lascivious men to unknown places. I’m confused,” he said.

Ms Agnes Paschal said not all parents, teachers and pupils are involved in exams cheating, suggesting that a better system should be designed to identify and punish the actual perpetrators.

The Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) arrested Chabutwa Primary School head-teacher Mashaka Mfume allegedly for providing Sh80,000 bribes to examination supervisors in order to facilitate cheating.

Speaking on cheating in secondary schools whose exams commence today across the country, Serengeti District Commissioner Nurdin Babu said Mugumu Secondary School was under a probe after being listed as among those planning to cheat examiners.

His Musoma District counterpart, Dr Vicent Nnaano, said, “I can’t disclose my strategies, but nobody involved in the vice will remain safe.”

Butiama DC Anna-Rose Nyamubi said a series of meetings were convened on Saturday to ensure that no cheating plans bear fruit.

Meanwhile, the Graiyaki Primary School director, Grace Godfrey, yesterday revealed that Ms Herrieth Josephat who outshined all pupils this year did 150 tests before final exams.

She said pupils were given four rounds of tests every week from June 29 when schools were re-opened after the Covid-19 lock-down - which increased accountability among teachers and pupils.

“The tests were done alongside assessment to determine pupils’ development and challenges as well as teaching challenges - and fix them,” she said.

Graiyaki Primary School head teacher Samwel Maduhu said planning, implementation and evaluation have been key to the success of the school that commence Standard Seven syllabus every November to January of the following year.

“We usually complete the Standard Seven syllabus by February and embark on comprehensive preparations for the final examinations,” he said.

Nyambina Nyambina, who held the fourth position in the national examination results, said weekly tests improved his performance to the fourth position, up from the 20th position.

Ms Assia Iddy of Twibhoki Primary School jointly led by Ms Godfrey - and holding the fifth position among girls - said achievement by girl-pupils should serve as a catalyst for change to prioritise their education instead of forcing them into early marriages.

Reported by Robert Kakwesi in Tabora; Samirah Yusuph in Simiyu; Anthony Mayunga in Mara and Louis Kolumbia in Dar es Salaam; editorial on Page 6

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