10 apprehended in exam leak

02 December 2021 | Education

ESTER KAMATI



WINDHOEK

At least 10 individuals have been taken into custody by the Namibian Police after examination papers were leaked ahead of the 2021 Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate final assessments for grades 11 and 12 (old curriculum), while exams for affected subjects will have to be rewritten next year.

According to Clementine Tsumis-Garises of the Directorate of National Examinations and Assessment, this is the most severe case of leaked examinations to date.

“We have had it [leaked exams] before, but it was confined to a specific region only. Now here, to protect the dignity and to give them [learners] a certificate that is accredited, we have to re-do it.”

She said there are some exam candidates involved in the scandal as well as foreign nationals who are teachers at part-time centres.

She added that exam papers have spread to the rest of the country via social media, hence the decision to halt the exams until 2022.

Criminal cases opened

Addressing a press conference at the education ministry’s headquarters in Windhoek, deputy minister Faustina Caley said three criminal cases have been opened with the police in Ongwediva and Ondangwa, where the leaks are suspected to have occurred.

“At the time of detection, the suspects were actually present in those areas. We cannot rule out the fact that there are other suspects elsewhere. For now, the known suspects are 10, but it is possible that there may be more suspects who will be apprehended” she said, adding that investigations are still under way.

“Police investigations have revealed that more examination papers comprising of different subjects could be affected,” Caley said. Of the 10 suspects apprehended, eight have been released on bail while two foreign nationals remain in custody, she added.

Out of fear of jeopardising police investigations, the ministry could not reveal much, but shared that the exams might have been leaked through papers intended for visually impaired candidates.

“This incident is of a serious nature, highly regrettable and is receiving the highest attention it deserves.

“We don’t want - because of one criminal - to discredit the whole examination. We hope it will never happen again,” the deputy minister emphasised.

She maintained that it is essential to protect the integrity of the examinations, adding that some will have to be rewritten in January and February.

“All affected subjects of which the exams are yet to be written are forthwith cancelled.”

The affected subjects are Grade 12 ordinary level: English Second Language paper one (core) and Paper 2 (Extended), History, Agriculture, Development Studies and Biology, as well as new grade 11 ordinary level English Second Language, Afrikaans, Biology, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Entrepreneurship, Business Studies, Agriculture, Oshikwanyama and Oshindonga.

School closure

Meanwhile, the ministry announced that schools will close prematurely “to assist the regions to prepare for the continuation of the national examination in 2022”.

Pre-primary, grade 1 and 2 will close on 3 December, while grades 4 to 10 will close on 9 December along with their hostels. Resource schools - formerly known as special needs schools - will also close on 9 December.

The leak will result in a delay in the release of the grade 11 and 12 results, the ministry admitted, which will in turn affect the resumption of classes for Advanced Subsidiary (AS) candidates next year and the current grade 10s.

“The ministry appeals to teachers, parents, guardians and public at large to report any incident of suspected wrongdoing,” Caley said, assuring that investigations into the matter will continue while administrative processes are ongoing to tighten existing control measures.

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