Yesterday Form Four students and other private candidates sat down for this year’s ZIMSEC Maths Paper 1 exams. As it turns out the paper had “leaked” as some students had the paper already. The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council(ZIMSEC) has already confirmed that the paper leaked although it seems like this was a rather limited leak. It is not clear whether all students have to retake the paper or not as investigations are still ongoing.

The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council would like to alert all its valued stakeholders that reports have been received that there are candidates who had pre-access to the Ordinary Level Mathematics Paper I (4(04 1) which was written this morning (18 October 20222).

ZIMSEC, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, and the Zimbabwe Republic Police are investigating the leakage and have already identified some candidates who had pre-access to the question paper and are currently tracking down the sources where the papers originated. The extent of the leakage is yet to be ascertained, after which the relevant authorities will make an informed decision on the administration of this paper.

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We urge the stakeholders of examinations in Zimbabwe to guard jealously the integrity of our examinations. Police forensic laboratory is on high alert to reveal anyone who is sending or receiving the question papers therefore candidates are warned to refrain from participating in this malpractice so as to avoid cancellation of results due to collusion.

ZIMSEC’s full statement on the leak

You can blame poverty for this

A couple of years ago ZIMSEC changed the structure of their final examinations and adopted the so-called continuous assessment scheme. Students have to complete coursework that constitutes 30% of the final mark that students get. This means that students still have to excel in the exam as final examinations constitute 70% of the final mark they get.

Unemployment is very high in Zimbabwe and whatever you want to do after school be it continuing to Advanced Level or becoming a nurse, for example, will require you to have at least five Ordinary Level passes including Maths and English. This means that English and Maths exams are often the targets of leaks. It doesn’t help that the Zimbabwean government has failed miserably to compensate teachers.

This means that during each examination season there is a high incentive for papers to leak. Teachers are not adequately compensated while students know that a pass in English and Maths is their only ticket out of the poverty hell of this country. It’s the perfect match that explains why ZIMSEC has a high leak rate compared to say Cambridge. Most Cambridge schools are in affluent areas and teachers who work at Cambridge schools are often paid better and would rather not jeopardise their positions for a couple of hundred of dollars.