Keep thighs covered

SABELO MAZIBUKO on October 02,2009

Swazi Times

MBABANE – An outcry over the suggestion for invigilators to inspect school girls’ thighs before exams to catch copy cats has led to the idea being discarded.

The Exams Council’s Registrar Edmund Mazibuko said due to people’s different understanding and interpretations of things they had been calling his office wanting to get clarification on the issue. He said following the concerns a normal search would be conducted to see if pupils do not enter the exam room with foreign objects, rather than going to the extent of seeing if they had not written anything on their thighs.

“People also have to understand, though, that pupils use different methods to copy, some even write on their shirts and some on their body parts and ours is to ensure that no one copies during the exams. Invigilators may not inspect the thighs though but instead search for the foreign objects and pieces of paper,” he said.

One of the groups against the idea of the inspection was the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT). The Secretary General Muzi Mhlanga said invigilators were engaged to check people who would be copying during the exams not to invade their privacy regardless of whether they would be checked by relevant people.

“That is against their dignity, for instance, if a prisoner escapes from prison we cannot search or interrogate everyone we come across the street, but there is a procedure of handling matters amicably,” stressed Mhlanga. Mhlanga said as teachers, their duty is to educate the pupils and motivate them before they go to sit for a particular paper so that they could not be tempted to copy and they discourage them from copying.

Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Education Pat Muir said it was fine for teachers and invigilators to search pupils, but not invade their privacy. He said should they reach that point it would mean invading the pupils privacy.