The levels of poverty in Zimbabwe and the pressure to pass is tempting a lot of Zimbabwean students to cheat in their final examinations. Aided by social media platforms such as WhatsApp, this year’s levels of cheating have been truly unparalleled. There have already been multiple cases of cheating recorded and they keep coming. In a recent case, two Mufakose High1 students were arrested for cheating during an exam and brought before a magistrate last week.

Prosecutors claim that two students, Beloved Chidakwa and Tinashe Shambi, both aged 19, obtained unauthorised access to a test paper for the Mathematics Paper 1 examination. According to NewZimbabwe, they appeared before Harare Magistrate Tafadzwa Miti and were charged with one count of unauthorised access to examination material. Both Chidakwa and Shambi were released after paying $15 000 ZWL bail apiece, they will return on 28 November when they will be formally charged.

According to the prosecution and court documents, Chidakwa was seen scrolling on his iPhone 6S and did not comply with the invigilator’s request to hand it up. Zvikomborero Gomera, the school-assigned invigilator, reported the incident to Headmaster David Vurayayi. The phone was confiscated and examined, at which point it was found to contain scanned images of the paper being prepared on the same day and photographs of recommended solutions.

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Chidakwa was taken into custody after the incident was reported to authorities. He then pointed the blame upon Shambi, saying that Shambi had sent the material out over his WhatsApp. Identical information was retrieved from Shambi’s phone, which was also seized upon his detention. Those images have not been filed as evidence in court yet although it is expected they will be released on the 28th when the case resumes and the two are formally charged.

Allegations of cheating and widespread leaks has prompted the well-to-do in Harare to resort to writing IGSCE Cambridge examinations instead of ZIMSEC examinations. However, Cambridge is very expensive with centres like the British Council asking for around US$100 per exam compared to ZIMSEC’s US$10.