By Auxilia Katongomara
Some parents in Bulawayo have expressed concern over the limited time they were given to pay for November public examinations saying they were not given adequate time to raise the required fees considering the prevailing economic situation.
Most schools have set varying dates from March 17 to March 28 as deadlines for the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) public examinations registration for Advanced and Ordinary Levels.
Each O Level subject costs $15 and $26 is needed per A Level subject.
Parents who spoke to The Chronicle said some schools notified them with two weeks left before the closing date for registration.
“I think it’s unfair. Normally when registration opens, it would be announced when there is ample time to look for money but now I only saw my child coming with a school form indicating the subjects they are registering. I’ve another A-Level student who must register. It’s hard for us, we need time,” said Mrs Thobekile Dube.
Mr Isaiah Mandaza said his Upper Sixth Form child came home telling him about the deadline on the first of this month and he has to look for funds to hurriedly pay.
Parents who called The Chronicle said they were accustomed to the May deadline hence they were taken aback by the latest development.
Most of them professed ignorance over Zimsec’s two-year payment plan for examinations.
Zimsec Public Relations Officer Ms Nicholette Dhlamini said parents were given ample time to pay for exam registration.
She said Zimsec only announced deadlines to exam centres and not to parents and it was up to the centres to give parents a deadline to pay.
“Two years ago we announced in the newspapers that a parent can now pay for their exam sitting pupil a year before the exam. For example a parent can pay for their Grade Seven child when they are in Grade Six, giving them two years to pay exam fees, the same for O and A-Levels,” said Ms Dhlamini.
“Schools have different deadlines for examinations for administrative purposes. If schools don’t meet the deadlines we fine them.”
A headmistress who spoke on condition of anonymity said parents preferred to pay at the last minute forcing schools to come up with earlier deadlines.
“The plan by Zimsec is working well in primary schools where parents are told to pay a $1 or two for their Grade Seven examinations starting when the pupils are in Grade Six but in high school they want to pay during the last month,” said the headmistress.
“The Zimsec deadline is March 30 but we are sticking to March 17 for A Levels and March 27 for Ordinary level because we will be trying to avoid last minute rushes. If you come and check on March 28 and 29 there will be people who will still be negotiating for an extension of the date.”
Zimbabwe Teachers Association Chief executive officer Mr Sifiso Ndlovu encouraged parents to look for money to ensure that their children sit for examinations.
“It’s the right thing to pay on time and everybody will be ready for examinations,” said Mr Ndlovu.
The June registration period closed last month. The Chronicle