MANEB’s ED PRESS BRIEFING ON PREPARATIONS FOR ADMINISTRATION OF 2020 EXAMINATIONS AND 2021 JCE EXAMINATION

DATE OF PRESS BRIEFING: 15TH SEPTEMBER, 2020

VENUE: CENTRAL OFFICE OF INFORMATION, BLANTYRE 

I called for this presser to update you on;

a)   what we have already done in preparation for the 2020 Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education ( PSLCE) , Malawi School Certificate of Education ( MSCE)  and Primary Teacher Certificate ( PTC) examinations ;

b)  what we are doing  in preparation for the said examinations  ;

c)   our expectation for the 2020 examinations ;

d)  preparations for the  re-introduced 2021 JCE examination and

e)   development of examinations syllabi

WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY DONE FOR 2020 EXAMINATIONS

Registration processes for the 2020 PSLCE and MSCE examinations started in September in 2019 and were completed in November 2019. MANEB strictly adhered to the deadlines that it stipulated in the circular letter on the registration, which was issued in August.  Using registration data that had been submitted by respective District Education Managers (DEMs),   in December 2019, MANEB produced nominal rolls which were sent to schools to accord candidates and schools an opportunity to verify correctness of details that appeared on the nominal rolls. Deadline for submission of nominal roll queries was 31st January 2020.

According to data submissions from DEMs’, the total number of registered candidates for PSLCE examination is 302,968 and 154,146 for MSCE.

Following  the reopening of  schools on 7th September 2020 using a phased approach starting with examination classes, as announced by the  Minister of Education, Honourable Agness Nyalonje,   two weeks ago MANEB  released examinations timetables  for 2020 PSLCE, MSCE and PTC. According to the timetables, PSLCE examination will be administered from 30th September to 2nd October 2020, MSCE will run from 27th October to 20th November, 2020 and PTCE will be administered from 1st to 4th December 2020.

Timetables for the three examinations have already been dispatched to DEMs’ offices. Heads of schools that registered candidates for PSLCE and MSCE examinations and Principals of Teacher Training Colleges are, therefore, urged to collect the timetables from their respective DEMs’ offices.

In our effort to ensure that we reach out to the larger public, we have also posted these timetables on the social media and uploaded the same on our website.

In March MANEB sent ID cards for PSLCE candidates to DEMs offices and last month IDs for MSCE candidates were also delivered to DEMs offices. We are currently receiving and working on ID queries for MSCE.

Examination administrators for both PSLCE and MSCE examinations have already been identified by DEMs’ offices. The identification of the administrators was guided by the automated template that MANEB sent to all DEMs’. To ensure compliance with the templates, MANEB conducted cluster centre verification exercise for both PSLCE and MSCE centres.

Briefing of examination administrators on how to conduct the 2020 PSLCE and MSCE examinations was done in March and April, 2020.

MANEB sent a list of science practical  items for Science Subjects to all approved MSCE examination centres and advised schools to procure the listed items  for both teaching and examination purposes . Schools were further informed that  they will not be allowed to procure the practical items a day before the practical examination neither would they be allowed to source the items after opening confidential instructions.

WHAT WE ARE DOING FOR 2020 EXAMINATIONS

By the time that schools were closing due to Covid- 19 MANEB, had already done printing, packing and boxing of examination materials. Despite the change in the dates for the administration of the examination, we are informing the public that we shall not be able to change the dates and times on the papers. Tampering with examination envelopes containing question papers is a breach of security hence the decision not to open the examination envelopes to change the details on the question papers. However, to ensure that officers at the examinations distribution centres do not open examinations   cartons   on wrong dates we have re-labeled each and every carton with the new dates for opening.. The new dates are printed on white paper and are, therefore, very conspicuous. Furthermore, arrangements are at an advanced stage to have Airtel and TNM sending SMS alert messages or reminders to all officers assigned to distribution centres guiding them on which examination cartons to open. The messages will be sent to the officers a day before the administration of a particular paper and this will be done for both PSLCE and MSCE examinations.

Meanwhile, we have requested DEMs to provide us with contact phone numbers for all officers who have been tasked with the responsibility of distributing examinations at distribution centres and the response from the DEMs is very good.

As has been the case in the previous two years, MANEB is committed to paying allowances for examination administrators prior to dates for administering examinations. MANEB is working closely with DEMs and Officers-In –Charge of Malawi Police Service to ensure that allowances for PSLCE administrators are remitted by 23rd September, 2020.  We are also making arrangements to pay MSCE administrators’ allowances   prior to 27th October, 2020.

Preparations for delivery of the examinations, starting with PSLCE, are currently under way.

WHAT WE EXPECT FOR 2020 EXAMINATIONS

We expect that candidates who registered for the examination will sit the examination that they registered for considering that government already incurred expenditure on these examinations through printing and other related costs.

With the examination dates reminder initiatives, we expect examination administrators to adhere to the examination dates stipulated on the recently released timetables. Adherence to the timetables will help avert examination leakage and our   expectation is to have another leakage free examination.

Considering that we sent the list of practical science items well in advance to secondary schools ,we expect schools to have procured the listed items by now and that they will not source the materials a day before the examination or after accessing confidential instructions. Any school administrator who shall flout these regulations will be taken to task.

With the briefing that was conducted for examination administrators in March and April, we expect the administrators to follow all laid down procedures and regulations for administering examinations. We equally expect candidates to abide by candidates’ code of conduct, which will be made available to them by their schools’ administrators prior to the commencement of   the examinations.

Having made advance payments of allowances to examination administrators, MANEB’s expectation is that all administrators will do their work professionally and that they will go and carry out their assigned duties in the designated areas.  We have had a good working relationship with all stakeholders and we expect this to continue for the 2020 examinations.

To uphold the credibility of examinations, MANEB has put in place necessary security measures to prevent examination malpractices. However, the responsibility of ensuring that the malpractices are not taking place rests with each and every individual. In this regard, we are calling upon the general public to be alert and report any suspected cases of malpractices to MANEB and Police.

Covid-19 is real and we are grateful to the Ministry of Education for putting in place necessary hygienic measures in schools to prevent the spread of the corona virus.  MANEB is, therefore, requesting schools to implement those measures during examinations. Candidates will also be expected to wear face masks and adhere to MANEB seating plan which requires candidates to sit 1.4 metres apart.

PREPARATIONS FOR RE-INTRODUCED JCE EXAMINATION

In March this year Government directed the re-instatement of JCE examinations and that the examination should be administered from 2021.

In compliance with this directive, MANEB has developed test items for the JCE examination and produced sample papers which have already been dispatched and received by approved JCE examination centres.

Part of MANEB’s mandate is to engage in test development research and validity studies. Through our studies we, therefore, noted issues with some of the subjects and made proposals to the Ministry of Education on how to improve the examinability of such subjects.  In that regard, the Ministry of Education gave us a go ahead to develop examinations syllabi. The examination syllabi has enabled us develop clear assessment objectives and stakeholders will soon access the syllabi. 

The Ministry of Education also granted us approval to combine some subjects into one examination paper and this is specifically for Social Studies and Life Skills. For 2022 JCE   examination and 2023 MSCE examination MANEB will administer Social and Life Skills examination, a new paper which examines concepts from two subjects; Social Studies and Life Skills.

The combination of the content from the two subjects in one paper is only for examination purposes. Teaching of the two subjects in schools   will be done separately, as is the current practice. However, this implies that a student has to study both Social Studies and Life Skills in order to sit for the Social and Life Skills examination.

JCE sample papers for Social and Life Skills examination are ready and will be dispatched to schools in due course. At a later point we will also develop and send MSCE Social and Life Skills sample papers to registered MSCE examination centres.

We would like to emphasise that the first JCE Social and Life skills examination will be administered in 2022 which implies that there will be neither Life Skills nor Social Skills examination in 2021.   

The public is also being informed that   2021 and 2022 MSCE examinations will still cover Form 1 to Form 4 work   but the 2023 MSCE examinations will cover work for Form 3 and 4.

CONCLUSION 

MANEB is grateful to government for providing the necessary resources for the administration of the examination and for supporting all activities related to national examinations.

MANEB also appreciates the roles that examination administrators and security officers play in the administration of examinations.

I thank you for your attention.

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