The role of Teachers in the management of examination malpractices: A case study of selected schools of Mpongwe District in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia

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Tembo, Henry
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University of Zambia
ABSTRACT The study aimed at assessing the role of teachers in the management of examination malpractices in selected schools of Mpongwe District in the Coppertbelt province of Zambia. The Ministry of General Education and other stakeholders have expressed concern on the teachers’ repeated involvement in examination malpractices. A case study design using the qualitative methodology was used to collect and analyse the data. In-depth interviews, Focus Group Discussions, and semi-structured questionnaires were the primary data collection methods used. While Secondary data collection involved relevant literature from the journal articles, internet, books, and newspapers. Purposive sampling technique was used to select head teachers, Ministry of General Education-District office, Examinations Council of Zambia officials, and parents. Six names from the list of all teachers from each school were randomly selected to make a total of 36 teachers to participate in the study. While purposive sampling was used for six school headteachers, two Ministry of General Education officials (one at District Education Board Secretary and one at the Examinations Council of Zambia) and one parent at each school Parent Teachers’ Association executive and interviewed separately as informants making a total sample of 50. The study involved three secondary schools and three primary schools of Mpongwe District. The research findings were that some teachers, pupils and parents were involved in examination malpractices in schools. The malpractices included: teachers aiding candidates, candidates found with unauthorised materials in examination rooms, candidates copying from one another during examinations, candidates having pre-written answers on their bodies like thighs and pupils and parents paying teachers some money to solicit for help during examinations. The role of teachers in the management of examination malpractices in schools ranged from preparing examination rooms, searching and cautioning of candidates against malpractices before examinations and vigilance during examinations. In addition, collection of examination materials from the District Education Board Secretary on an everyday basis and always keeping the examination materials in strong rooms for schools away from the DEBS office, sealing of examination papers in the presence of other stakeholders, that is, teachers, candidates and security officers. However, eexamination malpractices were only looked at during examinations forgetting the planning stage. Many schools in the rural areas do not have adequate teachers, teaching and learning materials in schools. This results in ill preparation of pupils for examinations, hence, teachers and pupils resorting to examination malpractices as a cover. In curbing incidences of examinations malpractices in schools, the following measures were put in place: following standard sitting arrangement of one metre apart, ensuring that there were two invigilators per examination room and signing of Candidate Examination Malpractice Declaration Statement forms by the pupils and parents coupled with sensitisation on the dangers of malpractices. The research, therefore, recommends that the role of teachers in the management of examination malpractices must be dealt with even in teacher training institutions while strictly following the examination guidelines when administering examinations to candidates and building of school halls in all schools to avoid congestion in examination rooms.
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