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Maneb faults on systems for 2020 exam leakage

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Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) Tuesday said preliminary investigations into the leakage of the cancelled 2020 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations revealed that leakage occurred due to security lapses at the institution.

Members of the Education Committee of Parliament heard, from Maneb officials, that investigations, which police and other security agencies conducted, pointed at porous security at Maneb headquarters, which enabled people to easily tamper with the examinations.

Maneb Board Chairperson Alfred Mtenje cited the deployment of six security officers to man the examination papers’ store room, in contravention of the requirement that 15 people should provide security services at a bare minimum.

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“Some of the cameras were also switched off. It was also observed that, in terms of physical checks on all members of staff that go to very important rooms, in some cases people were not being checked. All these factors resulted in a reduction in security and serious laxity in setup,” he said.

Maneb acting Executive Director Dorothy Nampota told committee members that, apart from the problem of porous security, internal intelligence also points at frustration among staff members as another factor that contributed to the leakage.

“There are a lot of issues that are coming out of staff members. There are issues of flouting procedures of firing and hiring [personnel]. There are issues where people are not pleased with others being hired without undergoing proper procedures. As an institution these are the matters that we will address with urgency,” Nampota said.

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Following leakage of the examinations, seven people were suspended pending investigations, with law enforcers arresting suspects in connection with the matter.

Nampota assured Parliament that new measures had been adopted, including the procurement of new CCTV set and plans to procure a heavy-duty printing machine, as part of activities aimed at beefing up security at the institution.

Education Committee of Parliament Chairperson Brainex Kaise said they were satisfied with Maneb officials’ responses.

“We, as a committee, will be on guard despite the assurance that, in the current administration of the exams, nothing will go wrong.

“So far, we are impressed with how the exams have been prepared,” Kaise said.

The committee is scheduled to meet the suspended Maneb officers today on the same.

The government coughed K4.5 billion to re-administer the MSCE examinations to 150,000 candidates.

The board is expected to administer examinations to another group of form four students before the end of this year.

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