DAR ES SALAAM: PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has issued a set of five directives to education authorities in the country, placing primary emphasis on developing strategies to combat examination cheating.
Dr Samia underlined the importance of actively pursuing a resolution to the issue of exam cheating through the efforts of the National Examinations Council (NECTA), Regional Examinations Committees and other means.
The Head of State issued the directives in Dar es Salaam yesterday on the occa – sion of the 50th anniversary of NECTA.
“I hope that after today, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the council will devise more effective strategies to address this issue once and for all,” remarked President Samia.
Furthermore, NECTA has been instructed by Pres – ident Samia to make sure that their responsibilities align with the objectives of the education policy, particularly with regard to com – petency testing. “We would prefer to have policies that complement each other.”
In order to save the government money on needless expenses, President Samia also gave NECTA instructions to ensure that they maintain a variety of printing devices and machinery.
According to President Samia, the government will work with the Council to achieve the long-term objectives of installing contemporary printing equipment to the extent that financial resources permit.
The Council’s performance will be enhanced in accordance with the changing technical environment.
Dr Samia’s fourth order urged the education ministry and the President’s Office – Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) to appropriately prepare for the arrival of new students next year.
Finally, President Samia directed the education ministry to continue working with the Ministry of Information, Communication, and Information Technology to avail internet service in schools in electrified villages so that students may take science exams online.
“The government is working to provide power to every community in an effort to create uniform atmosphere.
Furthermore, she mentioned that the Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF) has conducted a fruitful pilot project to facilitate teaching and learning of science studies via the internet,” she said.
She added, “In the areas that have been connected to this network, students have excelled in science subjects compared to the past years.”
As per President Samia, the system would help lower ministry expenses.
Rather than purchasing every piece of equipment needed for the lab, they might purchase a few so the students could observe and learn from them.
Earlier, Dr Said Mohamed, NECTA Executive Secretary said in 1973 when the council started there were 106,000 primary school candidates and today there are 1,397,000 candidates, an increase of more than 1,400 per cent.
“When the council started operations, those who were selected to join form one were 8,000, and 50 years later, those selected to join are more than 1 million,” said Dr Mohamed.
In secondary schools, in 1985, the Form Four candidates were 83,000 of whom 37 were girls, but this year they reached 572,338, an increase of more than 700 per cent, among them, girls are 293,000 more than boys by 54 per cent.
In the pursuit of implementing the new curriculum, Dr Mohamed mentioned that the council will focus on various assessment methods, including achievement tests, intelligence testing, aptitude testing, and diagnostic testing. Celebrating the council’s 50 years, Dr Mohamed highlighted various initiatives undertaken to improve infrastructure, recruit personnel, incorporate technology, and assess competence through testing and evaluations.
Regarding exam theft, Professor Adolf Mkenda, Minister for Education, Science and Technology highlighted that in the past, institutional collusion was a common method, where one school collaborated with certain officials by opening the exam before taking pictures.
The compromised exam (picture taken) was then resealed and sent to other schools.
Prof Mkenda noted that through collaboration between NECTA, regional examination committees, and various leaders, they have successfully contained such malpractices.
He emphasised that recent exams were conducted without incidents of theft, and individuals attempting to steal were apprehended before completing the illicit act.
The minister assured that, to date, there is no evidence suggesting exam leaks from within the council.
However, he underscored the council’s vigilance, as a unit with diverse personnel is dedicated to monitoring individuals with intentions to leak exams.
He stated, “Organised crime attempting to steal exams institutionally will be apprehended, as the council employs various methods to gather information.”