FakeLeaks: ZIMSEC Says There Was A Fake Exam Paper Circulating On WhatsApp As A Leaked Copy

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Last year’s October/November general exam session was somewhat messy. Besides the confusion over the ‘new curriculum’ there were several allegations of papers having leaked and that such papers had found a good transmission medium in WhatsApp. Sad stories…

There was then a proclamation that students had to resit for one of the papers at the time when the results were supposed to come out.  The notice was too short and it was not going to be feasible. The High Court had to make a ruling barring the resit. Some students, a great number actually had their results withheld for cheating. There was an outcry and at that time I asked if we had any sincerity in raising such outcries including the one against a certain Dr Grace Mugabe’s doctorate.

My argument was that we were being very hypocritical when a good number of people ‘graduating’ from universities and other places would have cheated their way. Exams leak, lecturers are bribed, assignments are copied, projects and dissertations are outsourced at a very high scale. We need to fix this.

I argued again that the outcry towards ZIMSEC’s leaked exams was probably coming from you and I who have no kids writing exams. I went further to almost bet that some very holy prayer warrior could without a flinch forward a ‘leaked paper’ to a WhatsApp group for their church intercession team and everyone there would say Hallelujah God has answered Brother Fred’s prayers for his son to pass.

Our conscience as a nation has eroded to ridiculous levels. This is why I was not surprised to see a communication from ZIMSEC concerning the May/June exam session. Again there were allegations of leaked papers circulating on WhatsApp. This time ZIMSEC said the supposed leaked papers were not the actual ones but fake ones designed to fleece some desperate parents without integrity who think helping their child cheat is the ultimate act of love.

Fake or not we have a problem

To be honest I think much of this conversation is lost in pointing fingers at ZIMSEC and advising what measures to make exam administration better. Yes this is important but if we have to solve the problem of how to stop parents buying leaked exams then we have a bigger problem than the soundness or lack thereof of our examinations set up.

The bigger exam is failed

Don’t parents realise that even if they help their kids cheat an exam and the kids get straight A’s those kids have failed ultimately  and it is their parents who would have failed them? Is that the nation we want? People who want what they haven’t earned? People who are entitled and don’t have boundaries? No wonder our politicians rape us in broad daylight. They are doing exactly what we are teaching our kids to do.

Our view of education has to change

We view education as this necessary evil that has to be endured on one’s way to a successful life. As long as we hold that metaphor in our minds then learning and subsequent exams are mere events that have to be ‘passed’ however way possible. This is why we have individuals who have succeeded at education, career and business but have failed at life.

Cheaters, sorry teachers are not exempt too. They are measured and measure themselves on metrics such as number of A’s students get etc. Kids are then taught to pass exams and not to learn. We must actually be thinking beyond teaching so kids learn but we must be teaching kids to learn to learn. The less conscientious teachers of course leak the papers.

The change starts with you

I know some are reading this and saying I am naive. I am of course, but I don’t think naive is a bad thing if we are all naive together. Let’s just choose to be innocent and good people. Let’s care more about the moral lessons we pass on to our kids above the number of A’s they get. That way the kids themselves won’t be pressured to cheat and we won’t help them to.

Let’s be a people who want to earn what they earn. A people that value how ‘success’ was achieved more than the mere showcasing of it. Let’s be a people who genuinely want our kids to be better people than we are and to live in a better world than we do. When we become such, leaked exam papers on WhatsApp (fake or otherwise) are the not as important and magically the incidence of such will go down: what incentive would there be to leak an exam

Zvimwe hazvidi tech solution izvi (some things don’t need tech) but unfortunately people being as we are, ZIMSEC will have to deploy secure technology and processes in their examination administration.


  1. ThinkBig

    Most parents don’t trust Zimsec that’s why one would prefer to cheat the system, cause it is believed that Zimsec don’t mark fairly. You try to be an honest parent and those who cheated in the past you discover that nothing ever happened to them. There are so many blank brains in Varsity, Polytechs in every facet of Zim educational system who either were helped by the so called extra lessons in which the teacher is a Zimsec marker. In most cases the teacher gives a last minute paper in which it would be the leaked paper mixed with a few questions that are just there to hide the true fact.
    The honest ones never seem to get a place in todays Zimbabwe, so why not join the band and dance to the song that’s playing.

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      I know you know I don’t agree

    2. Rati

      Believe it or not, nothing goes unpunished in this world. It may not be the law, it may not be direct, but one day, the chickens will come to roost.
      Just because someone else didn’t get caught does not mean we should also go ahead a cheat or commit a crime. This is the same mentality that makes people buy driver’s licences, because we are so consumed by the belief that the system is corrupt, and yet in the midst of all, an equal opportunity to do the right thing exists.
      Do the right thing every time, it begins with you, not with the person who gets caught!

      1. Tinashe Nyahasha

        I like this statement: we all have an equal opportunity to do the right thing. This means all we as individuals need to do is our part (make the right decisions) and not look at what everyone else is doing

  2. ThinkBig

    I know. When as a nation and as a people we fail to understand that education is not about getting a job but improving the way we think and act we shall remain “educated” and yet we are unable to solve a single problem that we face in our lives. We go through 13 years of education plus the so called advanced level but still the same mindset most of us went in with is the same we go out with. You still hold the same belief system saying to yourself “maths hadzina basa” and why does one need to look for “x” zvondipei izvozvo.
    Maybe the problem rests with the educators who themselves don’t even know how to educate the masses to become thinkers. I remember my school days being dry and flat the educators are obsessed with finishing the syllabus not with what they have given us.
    My take has always been that when a person has O’level it means they can solve certain problems in an ordinary way, when one has Advanced level they equally solve problems which are of an advanced nature. The ones who hold diplomas, degrees and masters i will not speak.
    if your article is anything to go by, it is an indication of a serious problem because most of these educated persons are failing to solve problems which their papers claim they can solve.

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      It is quite sad. We are locking our kids into the same cycle of zero ethics that we are in.

  3. Van Lee Chigwada

    On point.
    I have several Ed-Tech apps and a lot of students come to me asking for Exam tips, tricks and more, offering me drink money.
    Some people go as far as to openly try to bribe me on WhatsApp and sms to get them certificates and licenses.
    They don’t get that I’m just an app developer, but that’s besides the point. The main issue is no one wants to do it right, we all want to bribe or cheat our way out, and the systems allow it.
    Morality is gone and ethics are dead.

    And you’re also right, tech won’t solve this.

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      It’s sad isn’t it? I really feel strongly about these things. Contrary to what I sound like sometimes, I am very passionate about issues to do with education and it pains me to see this important thing become cheapened by cheating and myopic view points

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