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MBABANE – Imagine studying hard for an examination, writing it, only to be told that you must do it again.

This is the predicament thousands of pupils are expected to undergo in Eswatini following reports that some examination papers were leaked. The papers to be rewritten are; Religious Education (RE) Paper I and II, Mathematics Paper III and IV, Physical Science Paper II and IV and SiSwati Paper III.

The leakage of the Eswatini General Certificate of Secondary Education (EGCSE) examination papers is said to have caused widespread concern among parents, teachers and mental health practitioners, as the decision has been made for all pupils in the country to rewrite the four leaked papers.

The Examination Council of Eswatini (ECESWA) confirmed the leakage but is still investigating the details of how it occurred. Some parents, who confided in this publication, stated that they were concerned about their children.
The news of the rewrite has sparked worries about the psychological impact on the pupils who will have to retake the exams. Even some teachers have expressed concerns that this would have a serious negative psychological impact on the pupils.


Eswatini Principals Association (EPA)’s Chairperson Welcome Mhlanga is reported to have said that the decision to rewrite was fair. He also said malpractice was not good for the credibility of the examination and asked for co-operation from all stakeholders affected. Mhlanga also said this decision would affect the pupils psychologically.
Sidumo Lukhele, a Mental Health Practitioner from the Health Promotions Unit under the Ministry of Health, emphasised the need for counselling for the affected pupils.

When individuals anticipate a significant event, he said, they often experienced anxiety, leading to emotional and physical changes. This happens because their bodies prepare for the upcoming event. He said this was the case when pupils initially prepared for the examination. Lukhele noted that asking the students to rewrite the exams would only exacerbate this anxiety for the second time, causing unnecessary stress and potential challenges in their performance.
He highlighted that the decision to make all pupils rewrite the examinations could be particularly difficult for those who were not involved in the leakage and that something should be done to prepare them.


He said this could affect some pupils, to an extent that they may decide not to rewrite because of anxiety. “These pupils may feel unfairly punished and experience heightened anxiety as a result, “Lukhele said. “This could lead to sleep disturbances and other psychological effects, ultimately impacting their ability to perform well in the exams,” he stated. Lukhele stressed that the situation was unfair to those pupils who had not been part of any wrongdoing and emphasised the potential long-term impact on their mental well-being.”

In the past, leakages usually only involved affected schools or individual pupils but this time, it has affected the whole country. Also, concerns have been raised about the logistical challenges of organising a nationwide rewrite of the examinations and ensuring that all students have access to appropriate support and resources.

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