Abigail Mawonde Herald Reporter
Higher Education Examinations Council scripts for three colleges were stolen at Harare Polytechnic in what is suspected to be an inside job. The scripts were stolen last week, raising concerns over the security of examinations administered by HEXCO. Higher and Tertiary, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister Dr Godfrey Gandawa confirmed the theft in an interview this week.

“The scripts were stolen and the matter has been reported to police. We have tasked a team to carry out internal investigations at the institution while the police are also carrying out their investigations,” said Dr Gandawa.

“There was no break-in, raising suspicion that it could have been done by someone who has access to the office.”

It is still not yet clear why someone would steal students’ examination scripts.

Harare Polytechnic principal Engineer Tafadzwa Mudondo was evasive when contacted for comment.

He referred The Herald to the National Examinations Directorate at the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.

“I am not in a position to comment but what I can do is to refer you to the National Examinations Director who will be able to furnish you with the details pertaining to the matter,” he said.

Sources told The Herald that three courses were affected.

“Scripts for three courses were stolen and it appears authorities at Harare Polytechnic were trying to cover up,” said the source.

Of late, Hexco-administered examinations have come under the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

Last March, The Herald reported how the security of Hexco examinations had been compromised after the board contracted a precision mechanist to administer them.

One person would carry the entire examinations database on memory sticks and CDs, creating the possibility of the exam material being leaked.

The ministry investigated the matter, in the process opening a can of worms.

The probe team confirmed that the security of the exams was under threat and also revealed that some Hexco board members lacked the required skills to run national examinations.

Examination leakages have also affected the country’s education system, including the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council.

Zimsec has since taken measures to avert such occurrences by installing electronic seals that report immediately when examination material has been tampered with.