The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) candidates set to sit for their final examinations at the end of the year could be headed for disaster owing to limited learning and preparation time left.
The examination classes of grade 7, form 4 and upper sixth returned to school on September 28 after six months of inactivity at homes necessitated by the Covid-19-induced lockdown.
The return to school by the learners, which coincided with an industrial action by teachers who are demanding better remuneration and conditions of service, means more time continues to be lost ahead of December 1, the date set for the commencement of examinations.
Despite calls by some teacher organisations and pressure groups for the government to write-off the 2020 schools calendar citing time lost since March 24 when schools prematurely to date, the latter has refused to budge.
Responding to the Primary and Secondary Education ministerial statement on the reopening of schools presented in Parliament last week by responsible minister, Cain Mathema, Binga South legislator, Joel Gabbuza, said it was almost impossible for learners to complete the syllabi and be ready for examinations in two months’ time.
“Mr. Speaker, we are in October and teachers have not gone to work,” decried Gabbuza.
“The examination date has already been put: that is the end of November. So effectively, we have two months because if they (learners) are going to start writing the examinations on the 1st December, we cannot count December. How practical is it that if teachers do not go to work anytime soon as and when they start going to work, they will be able to complete the remaining parts of the syllabus, prepare the children in two months for examinations and make them write by 1st December?”
The legislator further said: “Is there no consideration of moving forward the examination date because every day lost is eating into the children’s preparatory time?”
Mathema, was however not convinced.
“We have what is also called in schools the Performance Led Address Programme,” he said. “The Performance Led Address Programme was created deliberately for these circumstances that those who are already teachers anyway must be assisted to make sure that each child actually proceeds as is normal, but if again the ailment or the disease becomes worse than what it is, the government will work accordingly and stop children from going to school. As of this moment like in all other countries, we are moving ahead, schools are open.”
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)