Ministry ready for 2021 examinations rewrite

11 January 2022 | Education

PULL QUOTE: "We are satisfied that all the due processes will be followed in holding the alleged accused persons accountable." Sanet Steenkamp, MOE Executive Director.

Elizabeth Joseph

State coffers have been ripped by the largest examination paper leak that Namibia has ever seen, costing the ministry of education roughly N$14 million to straighten out, however, it says that it is well prepared.

Last year, examination papers meant for grades 11 and 12 were leaked and since then learners all around the country have been panicking, uncertain of their futures.

During a briefing, deputy minister of education, arts, and culture Anna Nghipondoka said that learners have been dealing with the hype on social media after the scandal and they might need much more support now.

She further encouraged learners to be calm and to remain focused. "Those that can follow this advice will be able to write these examinations," she said.

Rewrite costs breakdown

According to the ministry's executive director, Sanet Steenkamp, the rewrite will cost the ministry N$14.1 million.

Transportation and distribution of question papers for 10 subjects that were printed for grade 11 cost the ministry N$8 million.

For grade 12, reprinting five subjects’ question papers cost N$2.5 million. The total cost of transporting question papers from the United Kingdom to Namibia is N$3.6 million.

Safety measures

Steenkamp says the ministry has never experienced such disgrace.

"This involves academic theft and other corrupt activities like selling question papers. Running national examinations is a process that involves many stages and requires several stakeholders or expertise both locally and internationally," she said.

The ministry believes that the security measures it has put in place are enforced meticulously.

"We took immediate and prompt action in addressing this matter and despite the financial implications, we are satisfied that all the due processes will be followed in holding the alleged accused persons accountable," Steenkamp said.

Learners worry about time

The grade 11 (cohort of 2021) rewrite commenced yesterday and will continue till 21 January 2022. Grade 12 (cohort of 2021) learners will rewrite their exams from 24 January 2022.

Apolonia Kakolo from JG van Der Walt Secondary School will be rewriting mathematics, physical science, chemistry, English, and biology.

She says rewriting those subjects changed the way she spent her holiday.

"Being the only girl in the house for the holiday, all responsibilities fell on my shoulders, so having to make time for my studies was difficult in the early weeks of the month.

“The chores and babysitting took so much of my time that studying had to be done late at night, sometimes early mornings. I fear for the outcome of this," said the teen.

The ministry says it took informed decisions and allocated resources to ensure that any possible compromising of the national examinations is curbed.

"The ministry will continue to analyse control measures. The risk and control matrix has been revisited already to identify the triggers to close all possible gaps. The principles of integrity and excellence are what we hold in high esteem," Steenkamp concludes.

Hostel returnees

Unlike the grade 11 cohort of 2021, who returned to hostels on 7 January 2022, the ministry announced that the incoming grade 11 learners for 2022 will only return to schools and hostels once the examinations are completed.

The grade 11s who are writing the examinations will not be liable for hostel fees for these days.

Consequently, they will only return to hostels on 23 January and resume school on 24 January.

According to the ministry, this decision was made to provide hostel accommodation to grade 11 learners from 2021, expected to start with their examinations next week.

In a circular sent out by the ministry, regions are reminded to monitor and ensure that hostels do not exceed their intended capacity and that overcrowding is avoided.

In addition, the return date for Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS) grade 11 learners of 2021 that have met the pass requirements will have to wait for the release of the exam results which will be communicated to them with time.

All other grades (pre-primary to grade 9) are further expected to return to the hostels on Sunday, 9 January 2022, and resume classes Monday, 10 January.

Uncertainty

The alleged mastermind behind the leak, a teacher at Windhoek Technical High School, Maria Toivo (47), and alleged co-conspirator Namutenya Hamukuto (26) appeared in court last month, but whether they were remanded in custody is unknown.

The police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, declined to comment on the matter.

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