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Pamushana school accused of leaking exam to students after 99% pass rate

Pamushana High School in Bikita is suspected of leaking exam papers to students after a record 103 students scored 15 points or above in the 2022 Zimsec Advanced Level examinations, one of the most spectacular outcomes by a single school in recent years.

However, the triumph has been clouded by suspicions of irregularities after the school was reported for probable cheating last year when students were discovered to have shared leaked examination papers.

The November exam results, on the other hand, were thought to have come from a competently run examination at the institution.

Only two students from last year’s Zimsec A-level failed to complete a minimum of two subjects, resulting in a 98.7 percent pass rate for the school, The Herald Reports.

While the total number of pupils that sat for Zimsec A’ Level at the school could not be determined yesterday, the pass rate implies a figure of around 154, with the best-performing applicant scoring six to-grade passes to accumulate 30 points.

Pamushana High School was previously implicated in the suspected leak of Zimsec examination papers when police connected some of the leaked O-level Zimsec final exam English and Mathematics papers to a student at the school.

Read Also: Zimsec speaks on viral 2022 “O” Level results suspension

However, despite affirming the unprecedented success rate, school officials rejected reports of exam paper leaks.

Mr Emmanuel Zingoni, the deputy headmaster in charge of examinations at Pamushana, dismissed allegations of leaks as “street” chatter.

“We owe our good performance in final examinations to hard work and a unique way of making students prepare for their final examinations.

“Those sitting for their final examinations can, unlike other schools around Zimbabwe, go on extended study up to 10pm under close supervision of their teachers.

“This may not be happening at other schools in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Zingoni.

“Those who talk about leaking examinations at Pamushana may say that, but they are misinformed that is merely street talk. How can we leak exam papers when we collect the papers on exam day from Nyika Growth Point which is about 10km away and with the paper arriving at the school about 15 minutes before the start of the examination. We don’t keep examination papers at the school.”

Mr Zingoni queried why a professional teacher or school authorities would risk their employment and reputation by leaking exam papers “for someone else’s child”.

“We have a dedicated and committed team of teachers, real professionals who work hard and always aim to make their students pass. We are indeed lucky to have such a committed team of teachers who are good at their job. Just that nothing else.”

Masvingo provincial education director Mrs Shylatte Mhike refused to comment on the results insisting on first seeing them.

“I have only heard about those results, but I have not seen them. I am in Bulawayo at the moment and it is only appropriate for me to comment after seeing the results. At the moment I can not say anything,” said Mrs Mhike.

Pamushana High has earned acclaim in Zimbabwe as a sports and educational powerhouse in recent years, with the school surpassing academic achievement records after its pupils excel in final exams.

One problem that the school does not mention is that because of its reputation, it will receive far more applications for spots for its children than it has available. This means that with proper selection criteria that consider both general primary school performance and Grade 7 results, it may pick students who are likely to succeed.

At the same time, it may maximise talented students into its sixth form by first excluding O-level students who did not do well enough, and then replacing vacancies with students from other schools who performed well. Add in effective teaching, as Mr Zingono emphasised, and the outcome should be quite positive.

Other schools with first-rate performance adopt a similar strategy, combining outstanding teachers with good students, and the combination usually leads in good parents wanting their children to attend that school, creating a cycle of positive reinforcement.

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