People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda says government’s decision to have security cameras installed in examinations store rooms across the country by next year is welcome move in curbing examination malpractices.

At a meeting with teachers in Mumbwa recently, Minister of General Education David Mabumba explained that the installation of cameras in examination papers storage rooms would enable the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ) to monitor safety.

Commenting on the development in an interview, Banda said the installation of cameras in schools was a welcome move, but hastened to say that the move would not make any difference if those in government did not show leadership by being the first to adhere to examination safety rules and conduct.

“The installation of cameras in store rooms where they are keeping exam papers is a welcome move. This is one of the measures that will strengthen the monitoring of examination papers to avoid leakages. But one thing we need to understand is that systems even today have been there but people have gone around systems because we do not have people who are committed to ensuring that those systems are adhered to. So you can put cameras but people will still find a way of by-passing them. Our advice, therefore, is that the whole system must be audited. It shouldn’t just be one place that things must be corrected, I think it’s from the time the exam is set up to the time it’s delivered into the exam room, that whole system must be audited to ensure that there are no weaknesses along the way,” Banda said.

“Putting cameras in store rooms where exam papers are kept is just one aspect. But have we looked at each and every stage of the process to ensure that there are no leakages? We might think that it’s the final paper that is stolen and discover that actually it’s a draft paper that is stolen. So all those things must be looked at to ensure that the whole process is strengthened.”

Banda regretted that the government had in the past instigated people to do wrongs because of the way they handled affairs in the country and failing to condemn everything that was wrong.

“One thing we have noticed as PAC is that government is lacking in the fight towards discipline. For example, in this government, it’s like each and every person is running their own Kingdom. It’s like everyone is saying ‘if the government can waste money on toll gates like this then we can also get exam papers and leak them’. So discipline has to come from the top. There has to be a greater level of commitment from the top that they want a disciplined administration, and if people who are connected to the system like ministers or those work in State House cannot be disciplined when they do wrong then don’t expect the custodians of exams to be disciplined, they will also think that its free for all,” said Banda.

“So we need to ensure that there is a political will to fight corruption, abuse of office and once that is done, it is going to trickle down to the lowest people in government.”