Examination Mafiarisation, and the Ambivalence of Performativity in Zimbabwe: A Quest for Rebalancing Pedagogy

Bekithemba Dube


This theoretical paper taps into Ball’ view of the terrors of performativity in order to critique examination mafiarisation in Zimbabwe. Of late, the education system in this country has experienced a number of trajectories, characterised by examination leaks, cheating, and a decline in confidence in Zimbabwean education. I critique examination mafiarisation, using Ball’s perspective, and in so doing, I attempt to answer two questions: What are the causes of examination mafiarisation? What can be done to mitigate cheating in examinations? The argument of the paper is that the curriculum faces ambivalence, because of an overemphasis on performativity. Consequently, teachers, learners, and parents have resorted to immoral behaviour to ensure performativity is enacted. I also argue for a need to embrace a rebalancing of pedagogy, which is characterised by social justice education, promotion of morality, comprehensive education, and task-based assessment, to regain credibility for what was once perceived to be a thriving educational system.


mafiarisation and rebalancing pedagogy

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