Schools defy Dokora on entrance tests

By Mugove Tafirenyika

A number of private schools are heading for confrontation with government after it emerged they are still charging fees for Form 1 entrance tests despite a standing ban imposed on the practice.

Lazarus Dokora
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora

The ban followed an outcry by parents over the steep cost of entrance tests — prompting Primary and Secondary Education ministry to introduce online registration as an alternative.

But some schools in Mashonaland East Province such as Monte Casino Girls High, for example, have invited prospective Form 1 learners to apply for entrance tests.

Parents who want to send their children to these schools have since been furnished with application forms.

Monte Casino, a Roman Catholic Church School located in Macheke, began issuing out the application forms at the beginning of this term in May.

“Acceptance into Form 1 depends on entrance tests, primary school records and the school head’s assessment,” the form, signed by the school head, reads.

The form has three parts where the applicant, the parent or guardian, as well as the head of the school from where the prospective Form 1 student did primary education, sign.

The head must indicate whether or not the prospective student was in a streamed class, when he or she did Grade 6 and 7.

Primary and Secondary Education ministry’s permanent secretary Sylvia Utete-Masango said government will crack the whip on schools that defy the ministry’s directive.

“We have since banned that practice and anyone who will be caught on the wrong side of the law will be dealt with, so we are going to investigate the schools that are not compliant,” Utete-Masango told the Daily News.

In announcing the ban, Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora said parents can take their children’s Grade 7 results to schools of their choice.

“Representations have been received to the effect that parents were being subjected to unnecessary financial burden through the payment of the non-refundable entrance test fees or travelling from school to school.

“This practice is discriminatory and violates the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 20 of 2013 Section 563) and the Education Act Sections (4) 1) and 4) (2) (b).

“In response to these representations, the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education produced the Secretary’s Circular Minute Number 13 of 2015, which provided guidelines on enrolment into Form 1.

“Enrolment of learners into Form 1 shall be based on Grade 7 results and shall be conducted on a specific date each year across the country,” he said when he banned entrance tests. Daily News