The issue of ZIMSEC exam papers leaking continues to be a problem associated with exams in Zimbabwe, and almost every year, an exam paper, usually O’Level Maths gets leaked. Last year, a local start up Microbots founded by Tinashe Jambo created an exam security solution meant to cushion the local examinations board, the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council from future leakages, but is technology the answer to this leakage problem?
During an interview with TechnoMag last year, Tinashe Jambo spoke with confidence about the system his company had created and how, if implemented would bring a new era to the writing of exams in Zimbabwe which will be characterised by no paper leakages.
By Pearson Mbendera
“Our total solution comprises of a tamper-proof Exam Box where examination papers are packaged, a compact sensor enabled GPS tracker, which is placed in the box, an electronic seal, which locks the box, and a smart key, which is used to lock and unlock the electronic seal.” he said.
The system created by Microbots is cutting edge, using a smart key as an electronic seal that can only be unlocked at the right time when students are about to sit for their exams.
The smart key, however advanced it is, even works in remote areas where there is no network coverage, meaning that exam paper security won’t be limited to certain areas. “The smart key downloads preset permissions once it connects to the central management system. Once downloaded, the smart key can be used to interact with the multiple electronic seals even in areas where there is no network coverage.”
But ZIMSEC already has similar technology as the one created by Microbots. In 2015, ZIMSEC introduced electronic seals to ensure headmasters are not able to open examination papers which will only be opened by remote control by the examinations body a few minutes before candidates write their examinations, but that didn’t work as papers still get leaked and the credibility of ZIMSEC still remains questionable.
Behind technology are people whose actions either makes the technology work or not.
Recently in Kamativi, teachers were selling a leaked paper for $10, which is too low a price for the risk they had taken, making you wonder why someone would risk his or her life for such a meagre payment. But thats the case of Zimbabwe, corruption has gotten so rotten that people will risk a lot for a few bucks.
While all this technology may actually end the problem of exams getting leaked, our economic problems and the system of corruption seem to add fuel to the fire that is already burning, creating a different kind of problem altogether.
Technology may work, it has the potential to work, but our problems have less to do with Examination papers security and more to do with the people involved with the examinations, unfortunately, that, technology alone cannot solve the problem but a collaborative of forces as well.
Time is nigh we move from the manual traditional system and run a fully fledged system that can easily and cheaply restore the credibility of our education sector.