A ZIMBABWEAN court has jailed a man for nine months for buying Â a leaked school-leavers’ exam paper for his brother, in the wake of a major paper leak scandal that will see hundreds of thousands of students forced to resit, the Herald newspaper reported on Thursday.
Sixteen and 17-year-olds across Zimbabwe would be forced to resit four Ordinary Level examinations in maths and English later this month in a move the authorities have acknowledged would be “traumatic” for many.
The cost of resetting the exams had been put at around US1 million.
The leaks — which happened just before the exams were first Â written last week — had been traced to a secondary school in the central town of Gweru.
A headmaster, his deputy, and several teachers had already been arrested.
The leaked papers were selling for around US40 each, about one-tenth of a teacher’s monthly salary in Zimbabwe.
In what appeared to be an attempt to make an example of locals caught using or trading leaked papers, the 21-year-old man from Bulawayo was handed his jail sentence on Wednesday by Bulawayo’s Magistrate Tancy Dube.
He said he bought the exam paper from an aunt in Gweru, the Herald reported.
The man’s 17-year-old brother, who was caught using a crib sheet in one of the maths papers, had been sentenced to be caned. Neither of the offenders was named to protect the identity of the minor.
Said the magistrate: “This is a serious offence which has affected the whole nation.”
Exam leaks are not uncommon in cash-strapped Zimbabwe, which is sliding back into economic crisis 15 months after longtime president Robert Mugabe’s re-election. In 2012, 13 O-level exams had to be reset after a headmaster claimed he had lost the papers on a bus.
In a separate report on Thursday, the Herald said headmasters would no longer be allowed to handle exam papers and special examination officers would be appointed in each school. – SAPA