THE government is mulling installing geographic positioning systems software on boxes containing examination papers to monitor them and curb leakages.
Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora expressed concern at the frequent examination leakages and said the only way to curb such vile practices was by tracking exam papers.
Public school examinations were localised in the late 1990s after scrapping the Cambridge University examinations, but frequent leakages continue to dent the credibility of the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec).
Despite the constant leaks, Dokora said Zimsec remained credible.
“Zimsec is further exploring the possibility of the use of technology — the grid lock system. The gadget uses the electronic locks, bluetooth, global system for mobile communication and geographic positioning system,” said Dokora.
“The technology enables smart interaction with the secured examination question paper boxes such that at any given time, the examination administration staff is aware of even the slightest attempt on the parcels. The locks can be programmed to open at given time and will allow windows to bar any early opening of the sealed examination parcels.
He added: “If we seal the examination papers in a box and they are codified, a signal is embedded in software, the box is monitored live as it travels from point A to B. You can watch on the computer screen that it has now done 40km out of Harare, at such a point it has stopped. If there is any attempt to open that box, there will be a signal on that computer showing there is an attempt to open the box.”
Dokora added that Zimsec would print its examinations, while slashing the number of days examination papers stay at a school.
“In rural areas, schools will have access to the question papers for a maximum of five days before the examinations are written,” he said. “In urban areas, centres will collect examination question papers a day before the paper is written.
“We believe that the combination of narrowing the distances, restricting the number of days that schools have access to the papers and also using the technology of today, we will certainly say goodbye to leakages.”