‘It’s a fix!’

Leungo Mokgwathi
FEELING DUPED: Candidates queuing outside BEC to request remarking

Skeptical teachers have accused Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) of ‘fixing’ the 2022 BGCSE results by deliberately marking down students in order to generate income through the re-marking initiative.

The upset educators are convinced students seeking remarking for last year’s BGCSE exams will reach record levels because of the BEC’s ‘greedy tactics’.

“BEC is set to rake in thousands considering the high number of students coming in for remarking this year,” insisted a teacher employed in Gaborone, who asked not to be named for fear of losing their job.

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Unhappy candidates have until the Monday 27 March to appeal their results and request a second opinion.

It does not come cheap, however, as a BEC insider informed The Voice that remarking costs P380 per paper, money the aggrieved student must fork out.

“Should BEC find that they made an error on their part, which does not happen often, a student will get a refund,” added the source.

'It's a fix!'

Echoing sentiments shared by many of her colleagues, a teacher in the South-East region claimed there were huge discrepancies between results published by BEC and the reports submitted by teachers at the end of marking.

“In my case, the examiner’s reports state that students were more challenged by paper two as opposed to paper one. A case which we all saw coming since we got a chance to look at and analyse the papers during the exam. To my complete surprise and disbelief, my students scored way better grades for paper two!”

This teacher, along with a number of others, believes BEC may have swapped results for different papers.

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Another Form 5 teacher revealed the mix-up went both ways, with some students actually benefitting and getting better grades than they deserved.

“As I was analysing the results, I realised that there was a disparity in the symbols. Student A got a C in paper 1 and an F in paper 2 which carries more weight – however, their overall was a C, which is impossible!”

She added they suspect a typing error on BEC’s part since there was no way student A could earn a credit for the subject.

Additionally, BEC did not grade students for their projects in some subjects, which reportedly led to a huge decline in pupils’ performance.

“For subjects like Agriculture and Development Studies, the projects usually boost student’s grades. We have no idea why they were not graded and the criteria used to assess these students; this has caused many students’ failure,” they insist.

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'It's a fix!'

Equally as insistent, BEC Corporate Communications Manager, Fingile Makgalemele laughed off the claims, calling the teachers ‘irresponsible’ for even thinking the examination council was capable of fixing results.

“An assessment body cannot fabricate results!” she exclaimed.

“These teachers are being irresponsible and are the last people to talk about the quality of our marking because they know very well that we do thorough checking to ensure maximum accuracy.”

In a written statement, Makgalemele further addressed the issue of ungraded coursework.

“Three out of 13 coursework components at BGCSE did not meet the submission threshold required by the BEC. Consequently, the marks for the affected coursework components were excluded in determining syllabus grades.”

According to the statement, a post-examination procedure that compensates disadvantaged candidates was applied at cohort level to mitigate against the impact.

“Such a procedure is part of best practice in exercising the principle of fairness. The procedure also ensures that the integrity of the assessment is not compromised,” continues the strongly-worded statement.

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Weighing in on the debate, Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) Secretary General, Agang Gabana bashed BEC, maintaining a lot of students suffered because of this, especially those whose strength lie in practicals.

Meanwhile, a worried teacher claimed many students were in danger of falling into depression because they have been failed without any reasonable explanations.

“What is saddening is that not every student has the means to request remarking, which means that those who cannot afford it, have to live in suffering over something that was done out of greed,” they blasted.

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Despite the doom and gloom, the overall 2022 BGCSE performance for government and private schools, as well as individual candidates, saw a pass rate of 66.51 percent, an improvement of 5.24 percent compared to 2021.

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