The Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) has admitted to yet another gaffe that resulted in students sitting for an English examination earlier than scheduled.
The BEC spokesman, Charles Keikotlhae, told The Telegraph on Monday that preliminary investigations by the examinations body this week revealed that invigilators relied on a draft examination time table and consequently made students sit for the examination last week instead of Monday.
“We were alerted today (Monday) and we conducted a preliminary investigation. The examination period has since been extended to 26 November.┬á The English paper will be re- written on 24 November at 8 am,” Keikotlhae told the Telegraph.
This comes despite repeated assertions by Minister of Education, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi that examinations will go on uninterrupted even as teachers do not participate in the invigilation. There are also fears that Teachers’ Unions are mobilizing members not to take part in the marking of examinations.
In one incident, students at Thamani Junior Secondary School in Tshesebe wrote the junior examination English paper 1 last Tuesday when it was supposed to have been written on Monday.
The Botswana Secondary School Teachers Union (BOSETU) on Monday blamed BEC.
Another English paper 3 for Thamani students written on Monday was in fact written last week.
At Tlhalogang Junior Secondary School near Francistown, students are reported to have emerged from classrooms in tears after being forced to sit for an examination they had not prepared for according to BOSETU’s Justin Hunyepa.
┬á“The students were using a provisional timetable and when they were seated waiting for paper 1, which is grammar as reflected in their timetable, they were instead given the more challenging paper 3, which is literature. The literature paper has 4 books, 2 novels and 2 plays. The students were forced to write the paper. They all came out crying helplessly, thanks to the inexperienced invigilators. The poor inexperienced invigilators failed to pick this. Even under normal circumstances, not all teachers are allowed to invigilate as those selected by the school are trusted with the examinations,” Hunyepa told The Telegraph.
He said the comedy of errors that has been unfolding since the beginning of both junior and senior school examinations demonstrates how badly professional teachers are needed to run the examinations.
“The position by BEC and Ministry of Education that anyone can invigilate and run examinations is a non starter,” he said.
In another incident according to BOSETU, a student at Lobatse Senior Secondary School missed six subjects because the inexperienced invigilators could not detect that the student was missing.
The student, whose identity is known to this publication, was hospitalized.