- Published on Friday, 08 June 2012 05:48
- Written by PIUS RUGONZIBWA
- Hits: 1169
THE government has said there was no deliberate intention to frustrate some Islamic students who sat for the Islamic Knowledge examination in the past form six examinations last February. It insisted that the matter has now been settled once and for all.
Making the clarification on the matter in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, the Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, said that the disparity over the issue should now be treated as a bygone. He said that complaints among some Muslim communities over the examination were due to the old marking system which has been reviewed.
Following the grievances, he said, the government carried out investigation and discovered that the old marking system that was used until last year was to blame. In the system the final marks of the subject were calculated using three paper systems instead of the two paper system being applied now.
"Due to the format changes for Islamic Knowledge paper that were affected from this year, the examination is now done in two papers and not in three papers as was the case resulting in changes in the marking system as well," he said. However, the minister said spot checks showed other subjects had no such problem and that all the shortcomings in the Islamic knowledge have been rectified accordingly and passed by the National Examination Council (Necta) in its special meeting last month.
Heads of schools whose students sat for the subject were early this month officially notified on the new development and the Islamic Schools Council wrote back appreciating the government efforts on the matter, he noted. The minister assured all the Islamic knowledge candidates that their official communication with the Tanzania Commission of Universities (TCU) Higher Education Students' Loans Board (HESLB) for admissions and loans will continue accordingly.
"We would like to assure all students concerned that nobody will be affected or denied any chance provided he/she meets stipulated criteria," he insisted. Dismissing calls by some Islamic groups for the Necta Executive Secretary, Dr Joyce Ndalichako, to resign over the 'scandal,' Dr Kawambwa said on the contrary, students, parents and the entire community should have confidence in all Necta officials.
He said the raised concerns in the marking of the subject basically involved human errors which were not made deliberately.
The minister said the government, particularly Necta, was not making any attempt to favour any candidates by any means during marking of its examinations since examinees never identify themselves by their names. They only write examination numbers.
Earlier, Dr Ndalichako said that changes in the marking formats were due to the new system. From this year on candidates will be examined on their competence rather than curriculums taught. He defended Necta examiners saying that they did their job guided by their professional ethics and experience. She also said the examiners are not selected basing on their tribes, religion or political affiliation.
Dr Kawambwa cautioned groups of extremists who, he said, planned to stage a demonstration over the saga. He added that doing so would be baseless.