Exam blunder rocks NULIS


..as parents give principal seven-day ultimatum to explain why students studied wrong English literature syllabus  

Lekhetho Ntsukunyane

THE National University of Lesotho International School (NULIS) principal has been given seven days to explain why students were taught the wrong syllabus for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) English literature examination which they wrote on Thursday last week.

The Grade 12 learners studied A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Death of a Salesman by English playwright William Shakespeare and his American counterpart Arthur Miller for the exam — only to realise on being presented with question papers that they had studied the wrong set-books.

The students, the Lesotho Times has since learnt, were supposed to study Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and The Tempest’ Miller’s All My Sons and The Importance of Being Ernest’ by Oscar Wilde.

“It was a shock to realise that the questions were about Julius Caesar and All My Sons, which we had never been taught,” said one of the students on condition of anonymity.

“We immediately notified the invigilator about this, but we were instructed to proceed with the questions anyway. It was impossible to write the exam, which contributes 33 percent of the total marks for whole paper.

“So what this simply means is we are already 33 percent down before the literature exam is marked, which is very unfair to us considering all the hard work we put in studying the wrong syllabus.”

Meanwhile, the students’ parents this week wrote to the school-head demanding to know how such a blunder could have happened.

The parents’ letter, dated 10 November 2014, reads: “We, the parents of Grade 12 NULIS students who wrote the English Literature Final Exam on Thursday, November 6 2014, were horrified to learn that the students were taught William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, which were not asked in the final exam.

“This section of the exam constitutes 33 percent of the whole paper. It is obvious that failure to answer 33 percent of the exam paper will have disastrous results for the students.

“We demand the Head Teacher and Literature Teacher to explain why the relevant books were not taught, and what remedial measures the school intends to take. We hope the school will respond within a week, failure to do so will force us to take other drastic measures.”

Contacted for comment, NULIS Acting Principal, ’Makananelo Moetsana confirmed the bungle, which she blamed on a teacher who has since left the Roma-based school. NULIS is one of two elitist local institutions, alongside Machabeng, which offer the IGCSE set by the United Kingdom-based Cambridge University.

Ms Moetsana said: “It is true the students wrote the exam based on books they were not taught by their teachers.

“We were notified about the blunder during the examination. What happened is there is a new English literature teacher who took over recently from someone who has since left the school.”

“It appears the former teacher, who started the 2014 Grade 12 syllabus with the students last year, introduced the books which were not in the syllabus,” she said. “So the new teacher also just took over without verifying that those books were on the syllabus. We really don’t know how we are going to report this matter to Cambridge.”




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