LEAKEGES are a manifestation of a failed education system, says United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema.
Hichilema yesterday asked the PF government to take responsibility over the examinations leakages. Commenting on the suspension of Grades Seven, Nine and 12 examinations by the Ministry of Education, which affects over one million pupils, Hichilema asked the government to lift the suspension immediately.
“These leakages are a manifestation of a failed education system. The leakages would have been avoided had we invested in the education sector per SADC standard [today, education in Zambia is allocated only about 12 per cent of the total national budget, which is less than the SADC recommended minimum threshold of 20 per cent],” Hichilema said.
“The education budget has been shrinking. Corruption, which starts from the very top has permeated society including our education system, this is the price we are now paying. While we do not condone children involving themselves in malpractices, in turn resulting in a country full of citizens with no skills other than papers, we call on the Ministry of Education to hasten investigations and lift the examinations suspension.”
He said the suspension of the examinations was a clear indication that there was lack of seriousness in education provision from the authorities.
“This suspension should not have occurred if we had serious people running the affairs of our country with a heart for an educated population. They however do not value education and that is a known fact. In the UPND, we value quality and not quantity, when it comes to education, this is why we say this failure to manage our education sector must not affect the innocent ones who have spent many months diligently revising for these important examination,” Hichilema said.
He said if the suspension was not lifted, the school calendar would be impacted negatively.
“This government must take responsibility and immediately lift this suspension. The longer this suspension is in effect, the more it negatively impacts the academic calendar. We are aware that our country has of late not been producing credible leaders because of the failing education system but we would like to assure the nation of an educated population once in government whose quality will contribute to the economic development. If Liberia can have free education, Zambia could also do the same,” said Hichilema.
On Tuesday, General Education minister David Mabumba announced the postponing, until further notice, of all examinations administered by the Examination Council of Zambia at grade 7, 9 and 12.
Mabumba said the suspension of the examinations had been necessitated by the leaking of the 2018 Grade nine Mathematics Paper Two, which was to be written last Tuesday morning.
“The Examination Council of Zambia and the Ministry of General Education received notification on the evening of 22 October, 2018 that the 2018 grade nine Mathematics Paper Two examination was posted on online media platforms,” Mabumba said.
“In line with the Examination Council of Zambia Act cap 131 of the laws of Zambia section 22 (1), the Grade Nine results for the Mathematics Examination Paper Two which should have been written today the 23rd of October, 2018 in the morning has been nullified. I have further instructed management at the council to print another paper to be administered at a later date to be advised before the end of this examination session. The council management and the ministry working with government investigative wings have been instructed to take remedial measures, mitigate the situation and thoroughly investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to book. I take this opportunity to warn the perpetrators, they are not going to hide whether you are using ICT platforms or not, we are going to catch you.”
Mabumba also said government would update the nation next week in terms of the status “because at the moment our various provincial education officers and various school managers have been requested to physically inspect the strong rooms where the examination papers are being kept.
“Until that time, that is when we will inform the nation when a new examination timetable will be issued and when the examinations are going to commence.”