Zimbabwe School Examinations Council

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Zimbabwe School Examinations Council
Examination Council overview
HeadquartersNumber 3 Ainsle House, Cnr 4th/Josiah Tongogara Avenue, Harare
Contact 263-4-792844 ,263-4-701563,

The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) is an autonomous parastatal under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. ZIMSEC was setup as a result of the 1994, Zimbabwe School Examinations Council Act. Amoung other reasons, the examinations were localised to ensure the end of colonial curricula in Zimbabwe.[1]

Zimsec has had Exam leak problems for a number of years, the latest being in 2017 November O'Level exams. In February 2018, the exams body announced that the 2017 Zimsec Ordinary Level English Paper II Examination would be rewritten after it was established that the papers were leaked and that there was widespread cheating.[2]


In 1983 a decision was taken by Cabinet to localize Ordinary Level and Advanced Level Examinations that were at the time delivered by the UK's Cambridge University. Training of the first lot of markers for the newly set board started in 1984 but the first localised O-Level examination were only written in 1990. Four years later, the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council Act was enacted and the following year, the first board appointed.[1]

In November 1995, the ZIMSEC Council under an Interim Director was introduced and then the following year in July the first substantive ZIMSEC Director appointed. In November 2002 the first ZIMSEC A-Level Examination was written and in 2003 the localization of A-Level examinations was completed.

International Accreditation

It is an internationally accredited examinations board. Its syllabuses are evaluated by the National Academic Recognition and Information Centre (NARIC) in the UK, and found to be equivalent to the General Certificate of Education Standard offered in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, United States of America and the other English speaking countries, hence the internationally recognized qualifications conferred by the Council.

Examinations Paper leaks

ZIMSEC has had a number of examination paper leaks attributed to poor controls and corruption. This has soiled the image of the council. Although the council has tried to exonerate itself from this debacle, the logistic matrix (transportation of papers from the council's regional centres to schools) has shown that the council is partly to blame.[3]

Papers have been leaked in 1996,[4] 2005,[5] 2007,[5] 2009,[5] 2012[4] and 2014.[6]

2017 English Paper Leak and Rewrite

In February 2018, before the release of the O'Level results the November 2017 examinations, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Professor Paul Mavima announced that the 2017 Zimsec Ordinary Level English Paper II Examination would be as it had been established that the paper had been leaked and that there was widespread cheating. [2]

Introducing the Gridlock System

The council announced that it was to introduce a new system to ensure that school heads will not be able to open examination papers before they are supposed to be written. The council announced that the gridlock technology is a box with a size of a briefcase and each box carries all question papers and the box can only be opened at the council's headquarters.[7] This idea came up about as a way to contain the issue of papers leaking almost every year. '


  1. 1.0 1.1 About ZIMSEC, ZIMSEC Official website, Retrieved:15 January 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 maveriq, BREAKING: Minister Says 2017 Zimsec Ordinary Level English Paper 2 Will Be REWRITTEN On Friday 16 FebruaryPindula News, Published: 8 Feb 2018, Retrieved: 8 Feb 2018
  3. Andrew Kunambura, ZIMSEC: A Child That Never Learns, The Financial Gazette, published:21 Nov 2014, retrieved:15 January 2015"
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wongai Zhangazha, Scandal-hit Zimsec a liability, Zimbabwe Independent, published:21 Nov 2014,retrieved:15 January 2015"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Isao Mashanyare and Emmanuel Chinamasa, School Examinations leakage: Case of Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council, Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, published:Apr 2014,retrieved:15 January 2015"
  6. Zimsec orders resit of 4 leaked papers, The Herald, published:12 Nov 2014,retrieved:15 January 2015"
  7. ZIMSEC ACTS ON EXAMS LEAKS, News dzeZimbabwe, published:13 Jan 2014,retrieved:15 January 2015"

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