Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) has withheld Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examination results for some schools.
Maneb spokesperson Mayamiko Chiwaya said in an interview yesterday that the schools did not pay candidates’ examination fees, or failed to make reconciliation or have been affected with technical issues.
She could not give finer details as to how much Maneb is owed in candidates’ fees or how many schools are affected as it was a weekend and Easter holiday when she could not be in office to access that information.
But an inside source said at some point a document showed that Maneb was owed as much as K31 million.
“But certainly other balances were reconciliation problems, which with provision of deposit slips, were cleared,” said the source privy to the matter.
Candidates pay examination fees through their schools which in turn are supposed to transfer the money to Maneb, but oftentimes, some school administrations abuse such funds.
Zomba Catholic Secondary School is one school of the schools whose results are being withheld, but the head teacher Brother Joseph Sambo said in an interview yesterday their results are being held on technical grounds.
“Yes, our examination results are being withheld. We tried to follow up on the matter with Maneb officials yesterday [Friday]. They say there was a technical fault, and assured us that our results would be out by Tuesday.
“It is nothing to do with examination fees, and nothing to do with cheating. This is a very serious school and we did everything right, including payment of the candidates’ fees,” he said.
Maneb released the results of the re-taken 2020 MSCE examination on Thursday, which showed that 81 017 candidates out of 138 310 have failed, representing a paltry 41.42 percent pass rate.
The results, announced by Minister of Education Agnes NyaLonje in Lilongwe, are worse than the 50.42 percent pass rate recorded in the 2019 MSCE examination.
In 2016, 58.32 percent of the candidates passed while in 2017 the pass rate stood at 61 percent and the 63.23 pass rate registered in 2018 was the highest in the past five years.
Describing the results as “the worst in the past decade”, the minister attributed the candidates’ poor performance to circumstances that surrounded the administration of the 2020 MSCE examinations which she said were beyond the ministry’s control.
Candidates took a fresh examination in January this year following cancellation of the initial one last October due to massive leakage of some examination papers.
Initially, the candidates were expected to write the examination in July, but they did not since schools were closed as a precautionary measure against Covid-19.
NyaLonje said: “We saw how Covid-19 induced a long holiday and necessitated shifting of MSCE from July to October 2020.
“The second factor is the cancellation of the exams due to massive leakage and last the strict controls and security used in the final examinations.”
She also blamed poor management of teachers whom she said play a major role in the education sector. She pledged to ensure that the plight of teachers is improved.