Two parents Victor Mukomeka and Chingasiyeni have filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court challenging the decision by Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima to nullify the results of last November’s O Level English Paper 2 exam and ordering a rewrite for all candidates.
The parents who are represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) cite Prof Mavima and the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) as respondents. The parents argue that Mavima breached constitutional provisions by annulling the results when only Zimsec could do so. They want the resit conducted variably or to be cancelled altogether, a matter the court will likely determine early this week.
The parents also argue that the 8 day period set aside for students to prepare for the re-sit “is inadequate and unduly constraining”. Part of the application reads:
(The examination) be declared null and void as the minister acted beyond his authority of which the Act empowers, in Section 34, only the examinations board to annul examination results.
The minister confirms that the cheating was identified during the examination session. It is not clear why the English Paper 2 examination was allowed to continue, and why Zimsec proceeded to mark the exams, only to annul results on the 8th of February 2018, some months later.
It is not clear why remedial action was not taken timeously and instantly upon realising the cheating or even the potential for cheating. Essentially, Zimsec allowed an exam in which they detected cheating to proceed and proceeded to mark it, only to annul results afterwards.
The costs attached to this kind of action and the rationality and reasonableness of this decision alone does not withstand scrutiny.