THE Chief Executive Officer of the Examination Council of Lesotho (ECoL), Litṧabako Ntoi, has assured secondary and high school learners that they will sit for their final examinations regardless of whether or not teachers proceed with their strike.
Dr Ntoi’s assurance comes against the background of the teachers’ strike from 2 August to 2 September this year to press government to award them salary increments. Some teachers’ unions have vowed to continue striking until the government gives in to their demands.
Speaking at a press conference at the ECoL offices in Maseru this week, Dr Ntoi said that the Junior Certificate Examinations (JCE) and the Lesotho General Certificate of Secondary Education (LGCSE) will proceed as expected on 8 October 2018.
“This morning (Tuesday) we met with the examinations council board where we agreed that 2018 JCE and LGCSE examinations should continue because students need to write and we do not find any circumstances which may hinder the process,” Dr Ntoi said.
“There are rumours circulating that the striking teachers will interfere with the coming examinations but we want to assure the students and their parents that the problems between the government and the teachers will not hinder ECoL from delivering its examination services.
“Whenever we have examinations, we always engage the police and we further assure people that there will police officers at examination centres who will quickly restore order if need be. Again, the schools have a binding contract with ECoL to serve as examination centres and so far we have already called 90 percent of them who confirmed that they are ready for the examinations.
“Apart from that, the practical examinations which commenced two weeks ago are going on smoothly. We will continue to transfer examinations materials to different schools across the country towards at the end of this month. Upon receipt of examinations materials, principals are mandated to ensure that those papers serve their purpose,” she said.
She also said that ECoL will today host a workshop for invigilators at its centre in Khubetsoana and they will also meet with the school principals as part of the preparations for the examinations.
Asked whether ECoL had considered the possibility that some of the schools will have not completed the teaching of the syllabi due to the teachers’ strike, Dr Ntoi said the examination questions were set a long time ago and could not be changed.
She further said that the marking exercise would also provide feedback “as to how much knowledge the students had been equipped with and whether or not they had completed the syllabi”.
“Before publishing the results, we also review the conditions under which the students wrote the examinations and try to find solutions if there are problems.”
She said that 23 918 students will sit for the JCE exams at 362 examination centres and 15 764 will sit for the LGCSE at 269 centres. She also urged candidates to abide by the examination rules to avoid being disqualified.
“Never allow the invigilators to help you by giving you answers during the examinations or accept any question papers from anyone who may have leaked them to you. Your teachers may also try to assist you with answers when they know they have not done their work properly but do not accept that as it may land you in trouble.
“Do not bring your phone or any form of paper containing compressed notes into the examination room. Ensure that you have the correct question paper at all times and immediately report if a wrong paper is put on your desk,” she further advised the learners.