Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Will the government take to task those involved in national form IV failure?

THE Decision whether the government will take legal action or not against those who directly involved in mass failures of the national form IV results for the year 2012 which the government nullified three weeks ago, is a puzzle which still occupies the minds of education stakeholders parents and human activists in the country. The Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, on Thursday this week told the National Assembly that the government will not hesitate to take severe legal measures against those involved in last year’s Form IV exam failures once the probe team which he had formed to investigate the issue completes its work.  He was responding a question during his 30 minutes on spot question session when asked by Magdalena Hamisi Sakaya (CUF) Special seat who wanted to know what disciplinary action the government is intending to take against those found guilty of students’ mass failures whose results were nullified. In response, the Premier noted that, the probe committee which he had formed is still going on with the investigations of the matter and once this is over, the government would work on their recommendations which shall be made open to the general public.  “After the investigations are complete, we will get answers and if we happen to discover that there were individuals responsible for the shameful action, the government will not hesitate to hold them accountable,” the Prime Minister said.  He further assured the parliamentarians and Tanzanians as a whole not to worry about the issue and insisted that, the government would work as in accordance with the recommendations to be put across by his team which he didn’t specify when it will finish investigations. Three weeks ago, the government nullified the National Form Four results for all students who sat for the examination following a preliminary report findings of a probe committee which had discovered that the new system used by NECTA to grade the results last year was different from the traditional system used in previous years called National Mean Difference ( NMD). Announcing the government decision in Parliament Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs) William Lukuvi said the committee formed by the prime minister learnt that NECTA used a new system called Fixed Grade Ranges (FGR) in grading students’ performance.  The government’s announcement came only four days after the inquiry committee led by Prof Sifuni Mchome tabled its preliminary report of findings to the cabinet in Dodoma. This was on April 29th last month that the committee met the cabinet in Dodoma to table its preliminary findings.  According to him, the NMD also took on board the respective student’s average Continuous Assessment (CA) for each subject. Lukuvi gave no more details with regard to the new system (FGR) in grading students’ performance last year besides maintaining that such a system was not thoroughly researched and prepared before its application by NECTA.  Lukuvi said after the meeting with the committee the cabinet agreed unanimously that the 2012 Form IV results be nullified, according to advice from the inquiry task force. The minister said the results would now be standardized so that the pass marks could tally with efforts that students used while studying. The cabinet also agreed that NECTA should suspend application of the new grading system (Fixed Grade Ranges) and should instead apply the old system in grading the 2012 Form results (National Mean Difference). The call by CUF legislator Magdalena Sakaya on Thursday this week has ushered interest by some parents and education stakeholders in the country who are eager to see what action is being taken by the government over the issue that caused death to some candidates while others left psychologically affected after their results were announced by the Minister for Education and Vocational Training Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa. The results ordained a mass failure by 66.5 percent with Zero marks created a great confusion among parents and education stakeholders in the country with some noting that to be the worst ever since independence and urged the government not to turn a blind eye on the issue. Since the results were announced early this year, the government was under pressure from sections of the general public, lawmakers and some education experts. There was a call for political responsibility, with some politicians calling for the resignation of the Minister for Education, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa but their call ended up in vain.  Cornered for an exclusive interview on Thursday this week in Parliament, a CCM carder who spoke on strict condition of anonymity said that, it’s high time now the government leaders to be held accountable in order to restore the dignity of the ruling CCM party. He said that, most Tanzanian leaders have not developed the habit of resigning by themselves once serious allegations such as these are leveled against them unless the parliament intervenes. However, he said adding that, in re cent years it has been noticed that most leaders have been forced to resign with the pressure of Parliamentarians and not otherwise. Driving his point on the issue of National form Four results, he said that, by any means if the CCM party wants to cleans itself, it must hold responsible its leaders including the Minister for Education and others who might have been closely associated with the issue. “This is a big shame, not only in the country but it has sparked all over especially among our fellow East African member countries and probably in other parts of the world who might have looked it in a negative perspective” he lamented and added that Tanzanians have reasons to wait to hear what action their government will take.

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