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Schools strict on Covid as Standard 8 exams start

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The administration of 2021 Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) examinations started well Wednesday, with most schools in the country observing Covid preventative measures despite reports of a botched attempt to steal examinations materials at Chikwawa Primary School in Rumphi District

Northern Region Police spokesperson Maurice Chapola told The Daily Times Wednesday that, in the early hours of Wednesday, unknown people broke into an office that was housing PSLCE examinations in Rumphi District.

“However, examinations’ materials were not disturbed in any way because the thieves only went away with a carton of envelopes. Let me also assure the public that security remains tight while examinations are being administered,” he said.

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Other than news about the isolated case of a disturbance in the Northern Region, visits to examination cluster centres in Mzuzu City revealed good organisation and peaceful administration of the national examinations.

In addition, Covid preventative measures were being strictly adhered to, as all the centres we visited had facemasks and hand-washing facilities, with candidates also seen sitting one metre apart, in line with Covid measures that members of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid put in place.

Mzuzu City has 18 examination centres.

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Snap surveys conducted in the country also indicated that examination invigilators and other administrators were observing Covid prevention measures.

For example, at Blantyre City’s Mbayani 1 Primary School, where 927 candidates are sitting examinations, candidates were washing hands before entering examination rooms and all the candidates we saw were putting on facemasks.

Kenneth Amidu, Mbayani 1 Primary School Supervisor, said examinations’ administration work was going smoothly.

“Everything has started well and, so far, we have had no challenges,’’ he said.

This was also the case at Chichiri and Zingwangwa primary schools, where supervisors and invigilators worked in unison to ensure that no candidate was up to some mischief.

In Zomba, where we visited Bwaila, Police and Matiya primary school cluster centres, peace was the order of the day.

Police Primary School Supervisor White Mbella said they were satisfied with levels of security and the conduct of candidates. There were 15 invigilators and one police officer overseeing examinations at the time we visited the school.

In the capital Lilongwe, the environment was quiet in all the centres visited.

Police officers were also available in examination centres we visited.

We established that Covid preventive measures were followed at the centres. All candidates were seen with facemasks while hand-washing utensils were in sight.

We also learned that, in some schools, learners that are not sitting national examinations have been given a three-day holiday so that they cannot disturb PSLCE candidates.

However, other cluster centres registered cases of absent candidates. Mchesi Primary School Assistant Deputy Head teacher Maniwaka Nkhoma said, for example, that five out of the 219 candidates at her school had not turned up to sit examinations.

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