By Chancy Namadzunda:
The Malawi National Examination Board(MANEB) Executive Director Gerald Chiunda has been suspended over the leakage of Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations.
According to a suspension letter signed by MANEB Vice Board Chairperson Dr Edith Mmela, Chiunda’s suspension paves the way for thorough ongoing investigations into the gross mismanagement of the exams.
“On behalf of the board, I am writing you to inform that the board has resolved to suspend you from duty in your capacity as Executive Director with immediate effect in order to allow the board to conduct thorough investigation into the matter,” reads part of the letter dated November 11, 2020.
Early this month, Education Minister Agness NyaLonje announced that this year’s MSCE examinations have been cancelled following the leakage of almost five papers hours before commencement of examinations.
Following the announcement, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) Chairperson Gift Yrapence called for Chiunda’s resignation.
In press statement signed by HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence, the group stated that Chiunda has failed the nation in as far as examinations administration is concerned and he need to be relieved from his duties with immediate effect.
Trapence said while the coalition welcome the government idea of calling off the leaked examinations, the crisis is costly and huge embarassment to the nation.
President Lazarus Chakwera ordered that the top MANEB be fired following failure to professionally handle the examinations which resulted into leakage of various papers.
During his address to the nation, Chakwera said he feels that that leakage of the examinations is a deliberate move to frustrate his governments.
“To have several secondary school exam papers leaked and the education of hundreds of thousands of students thrown off course is simply unacceptable. Whatever the motives, this is clearly a deliberate act occasioned by elements of criminality, impunity and negligence that cannot be allowed to continue.
“I am giving the minister of education one week to work with MANEB to identify and discipline either the people who did this or the officers whose negligence allowed this to happen,” said Chakwera.
He then ordered Maneb to re-administer MSCE examinations before end of January and that Minister of Education must find out who leaked the exams and take action within a week.
“Additionally, the idea that students have to wait until March next year to take exams or that
their guardians have to bear the cost of this failure is not an idea I find to be in the public interest. I am therefore giving the Malawi National Examination Board until the end of this month to remove the top management of MANEB, on account of this gross failure, and replace it with a new team that will conduct the most credible examinations Malawi has ever had, which must be done no later than January.
“A country that just witnessed the best national election in history being conducted in record time cannot be expected to tolerate having to wait five months for school exams to be administered.
“There is a new standard for delivery of service that has been set by Constitutional Court case, the Fresh Presidential Election, and the Tonse Campaign, and we will not allow anyone to move us backwards,” the president said.