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Maneb hires external security for MSCE

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Benedicto Kondowe

Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) has engaged an external security agency as one way of tightening examinations’ security ahead of the re-administration of Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations that were cancelled some weeks ago.

Maneb has always been using internal security systems but acting Chief Executive Officer Dorothy Nampota told The Daily Times yesterday that the institution would beef up security to avoid a recurrence of the leakage of some subjects, which has culminated in the loss of K4 billion.

She said Maneb board was scheduled to meet on Friday this week to suggest steps that would lead to the smooth re-administration of the examinations. The board is expected to spend another K4 billion on examination re-take.

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She said, while the board

was doing groundwork in preparation for re-administration of examinations, there were issues the board of directors needed to approve before full implementation of reforms that are to be introduced in the administration of national examinations.

“We are working under strict security [measures]; we are not using our own security [service providers]. We are using external security agencies. So far, things are okay,” Nampota said.

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President Lazarus Chakwera early this month ordered Maneb and the Ministry of Education to re-administer the examinations not later than January 2021.

“The preparations are on track. In terms of groundwork, we are making headway. We have few things that need to be approved by the board on Friday and, once that is done, we will be clear in terms of our response,” Nampota said.

But education activist Benedict Kondowe, who is also Civil Society Education Coalition Executive Director, asked Maneb to move with speed and come up with a calendar that would settle parents and students’ fears.

“We expect the board to work day and night to make sure that all the processes are done on time. But of particular importance is the need for Maneb to release the indicative calendar now. Parents and students are not sure if the examinations will be administered in January or March and this has cost-implications. I hope the board will help Malawians more by releasing the calendar,” Kondowe said.

Apparently, government institutions are scheduled to close for not more than two weeks’ holiday mid- December, raising fears that Maneb may not be able to finalise all preparations by January 2021.

The widespread leakage of some examination papers forced the national examinations body to suspend its boss Gerald Chiunda and the entire management pending investigations after preliminary investigations revealed gross negligence in the management and conduct of the examinations.

Apart from Chiunda, the board, through a special committee, has constituted a preliminary investigation to establish facts and identify officers responsible for the leakage pending full investigations.

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