By Garikai Mafirakureva

THE matter involving four Chiredzi South teachers who allegedly wrote public examinations for their wives and girlfriends during last November’s Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) examinations is now shrouded in controversy after two of the suspended teachers remained at the school.

Southern Eye has established that the suspended teachers – Mike Maluleke and Checkson Tsumele’s conditions of suspension include remaining at Chingele Secondary School, but not carrying out their duties. This has raised fear that they might end up interfering with investigations.

Although investigations by a team from Zimsec in Harare found out that the school head Mike Maluleke allegedly connived with his deputy Checkson Tsumele, mathematics teacher Roddington Sithole and English teacher Misheck Mahungu to write the examinations on behalf of their girlfriends at home, and recommended their suspension, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry chose to give them lighter conditions.

Sources alleged that the school head was related to one of Zanu PF’s bigwigs, making it difficult for the ministry to act firmly against him.

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Chiredzi district schools inspector (DSI) Petronella Nyangwe confirmed the matter when reached for comment.

“Yes, the four teachers are only suspended but have not been discharged from service so cannot be replaced. However it is possible to make other arrangements to ensure effective management of examinations during exam time.

“All are residing at the school premises as it is also the other condition of their suspension not to leave their station. But they are not at work as far as we know,” Nyangwe said.

Provincial education director Zedious Chitiga only said: “Just leave the matter like that, it will soon be solved.”

Primary and Secondary Education ministry secretary Tamsung Thabela said she was out office for some time.

“I am not in Harare. I am forwarding your questions to the acting secretary. You can make a follow-up through Patrick Zumbo on our communication desk,” she said.

Zumbo, however, continued saying he would come back later with a comment.

Zimsec spokesperson Nicky Dlamini maintained that the examinations body only recommended that the ministry, through the Public Service Commission, suspend the teachers.

“We only recommended the suspension, but we do not carry out the suspension ourselves. Our recommendations remain that four teachers (head, deputy and two senior teachers) were involved in improper association with schoolchildren and former schoolchildren. These four wrote examinations for the eight candidates while one teacher wrote for his second wife. Combined Science paper 3 (practical paper) examination was written in more than two hours and no proper supervision was in place, and candidates were even discussing answers in the examination,” Dlamini said.

“New teachers must be deployed at the school if Zimsec centre status is to be maintained, otherwise the council will revoke the centre status. A resident monitor should also be deployed during each examination session so as to superintend the smooth running of examinations at the centre.”

Dlamini added that nine candidates would have all their results for the November session nullified according to the Zimsec policy and Combined Science results for the whole school had also been cancelled.