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Critics Say New Zimsec Board No Panacea for Education Woes

The installation of a new Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) will do little if anything to restore sanity in the perennially troubled examination body, critics say.

Government announced a new 10-member board Wednesday led by University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor, Levi Nyagura, who replaced Professor Norman Maphosa.

Zimsec’s credibility has all but disappeared over the past few years due to a cocktail of problems, including examination leaks and poor administration.

While Education Minister Lazarus Dokora said he was optimistic as to the new board's potential, educationist and former lawmaker Thandeko Zinti Mnkandla wasn't as flattered.

"I believe the thing that needs to be overhauled is the system itself," said Mnkandla.

"The Zimsec system is rotten. Changing the personnel in boards will not change anything. If you have a ramshackle bus, changing the driver won't have any impact."

The Zimsec-administered exams have often been blighted by recurring leaks and examination content considered inappropriate by some.

Zimbabwe is one of several sub-Saharan countries that will miss the ambitious 2015 Millenium Development Goal target of universal access to primary education.

And to keep that target in focus, even after the deadline, educationists say the government should allocate more funding for the education sector.