Unam Reverses Exam Decision After SRC Threats

The University of Namibia (Unam) management has made a U-turn on its earlier decision to cancel, suspend and declare recent written examinations as null and void.

The reversed decision comes in the wake of the Student Representative Council (SRC) on Friday threatening the institution with legal action if it pressed ahead with plans to nullify the exams.

The Unam management, mainly deans of faculties, heads of departments as well as directors and representatives from the registrar’s office and quality assurance department together with the SRC members held an urgent meeting on Monday – the deadline the SRC gave Unam management to respond.

The aggrieved students had already sat for certain exams, while others were due to write. They were told last week that question papers had been leaked hence the action by the university.

Unam SRC Secretary for Information and Publicity Ernst Groenewald told New Era yesterday that Unam management met some of the students’ demands.

“We are satisfied with their responses to our demands. It should be a wake-up call to them (management) that they cannot just make decisions on their own without consulting the affected parties – in this case the students. It should also be a lesson for students themselves not to just to accept what the university management thinks is right, but to stand up for what is beneficial to them,” he noted.

The cancellation, suspension and nullification of certain exams at Unam took place in the Faculty of Economics and Management Science. Students who on Friday challenged the university demanded that the pending investigations be handled by an independent body that is in no way involved in the matter.

In this regard, Unam management together with students had agreed that an independent organization called Specialized Investigation Consultant Services cc (SICS) would conduct the investigation.

The probe into the alleged leakage of exam papers by SICS already started on Monday and is expected to be completed by July 31.

“These investigations will only target those who were fraudulent during these examinations, whether it’s a student or a staff member. The perpetrators will be punished as is due for such a crime,” Groenewald said.

Further, the students also demanded that the exams written should be validated and normal procedures of examinations continue until the completion of the pending investigations.

In this regard, the Unam management too agreed that all papers already written would be marked and declared valid.

Both parties agreed that a second opportunity woud be afforded candidates who qualified as dictated by the normal university rules.

Those who qualify to write these second opportunity examinations and have already left the country will be allowed to write during the first week of August. However, all the results for the affected modules – excluding for those students who qualify for the second opportunity – will be withheld till the investigations are complete and thereafter released on the Unam portal.

In addition, the students called for the immediate suspension of the Unam registrar, Alois Fledersbacher, who was just recently shifted to acting pro-vice chancellor for administration and finance after the suspension of Boniface Mutumba who was serving in that capacity.

Fledersbacher has been at the helm of the office of the registrar for years and in the build-up to the examinations.

However, Groenewald said this demand could not be met due to the fact that the ad hoc committee does not have the relevant authority to execute such a task and would have to forward that request to the University Council.

New Era has reliably been informed that a certain Sacky Shilongo has since last year December been suspended over alleged leakage of exam papers.

“This guy is an IT technician and he had an access security password into the system where the question papers are stored. He used to print and sell them to students. He was then busted and he has since been suspended with full pay,” a source who preferred anonymity said.

Unam public relations officer for communications and marketing Johannes Haufiku confirmed Shilongo’s suspension but denied that his case had anything to do with exam leaks.

Source : New Era