Samuel Kadungure Senior Reporter
THE high number of candidates penalised for cheating during the November 2017 exams adversely affected the pass rate in Manicaland though statistics show that those who scored at least five straight As shot to 1 208.
Provincial education director, Mr Edward Shumba while commending schools, which excelled, bemoaned exam leakages and malpractices, which were widespread in Manicaland.
“It was not limited to Mutare Boys High, but the cancer was pervasive in all our districts in Manicaland. Cheating is bad, and the sad news is that lots of potential candidates were punished and this went on to affect the overall quality of our results in the province,” said Mr Shumba.
He could not immediately state the exact number of candidates and schools involved in exam malpractice saying investigations were still in progress. The culprits had their grades cancelled after being disqualified from the exams. The number of culprits penalised for cheating rose sharply last year, mostly as a result of mobile phones being smuggled into exam halls to share exam questions on social media.
Some pupils allegedly sneaked into exam rooms beforehand to attach notes beneath their assigned desks. Allegations of impersonation, taking foreign material into the examination room, collusion, body writing or tattooing and smuggling already answered scripts and swapping them with the answer script given to them were also abound.
Unscrupulous teachers were also accused of cheating to try and improve their pupils’ exam results.
“The increase in students and teachers involved is more concerning. Students should work hard, and never rely on short-cuts. Teachers should do it professionally. They should do things correctly,” said Mr Shumba.
Manicaland has 1 208 candidates with a full set of five As or better – perfectly placing them for entry to some of the country’s most prestigious A-Level schools.
While candidates from well-resourced and technologically advanced mission schools dominated the A grades, their counterparts from day schools made significant inroads.
“Qualitatively, we have beaten our record of 2016 with 1 208 candidates scoring a minimum of five As or better. I want to congratulate parents, students and schools for a job well done.
“We have beaten our own record, but that is not the limit, we have not reached the stars yet. Statistics are still being worked on, and I cannot comment much on bad performers. I will be able to do so after three weeks, but basically they should go back to the boardroom and strategise,” said Mr Shumba. Mr Shumba singled out St Faith’s High (Rusape) for emerging with
the best results with 120 candidates making a clean sweep.
St Faith’s High also had the best A-Level results.
The best students were Benson Banhire and Rayn Zengeni with 16As, followed by Khosilathi Mahlangu, Tasimbiswa Makombe, Arthur Gwenzi, Lionel Chimutumbira, Takudzwa Mutombo, Glenn Tachera, Brian Chiunda and Tanaka Chuma with 15As and above. Six others had 14As, 11 had 13As and 12As, respectively, 15 had 11As, eight had 10As, 14 had nine As, 11 had eight As, 15 had seven As,10 had six As and nine had five As.
The head, Mr Moses Mukoyi expressed delight at the success of the school with 97.2 percent pass rate.
He said the excellent grades were a testament to the maturity and determination of pupils and to the enthusiasm and professionalism of their teachers.
“Find a school that performs better than this, and I will hate that school,” he said.
Second was St David’s Bonda with 108 candidates. Kriste Mambo was third with 87. St Dominic’s High was the only day school to enter into the top four with 80 candidates with five As and above.
Fifth was St Augustine’s with 77 candidates, followed by Nyanga High (69), Nyazura High (52), Hartzel High (48), Marange High (43) and Mavhudzi High (29).
Bonda’s overall pass rate was 98.1 percent and its best performers were Hazel Masvikeni and Vimbainashe Mutsvaro with 12As.
Two candidates failed.
The head, Mr Caston Samanga said: “There is a significant improvement, and our target is to plug the 1.9 percent gap. We have adopted a policy of zero tolerance to failure at O level.”
Kriste Mambo head, Mr Andrew Mvere said they had a 100 percent pass rate.
Mr Mvere said three students – Precious Bondokoto, Blessing Ngara and Mercy Mutema had 13As followed by five others with 12As or better, 10 with 11As and 12 with 11As.
“The total number of candidates registering five or more subjects is 111, meaning our pass rate is 100 percent. The total number of those with five or more A grade passes is 87, which constitutes 78.38 percent of the overall pass rate. The number of candidates who have passed English is 110, meaning only one failed,” said Mr Mvere.