By Leonard Ncube
A majority of boarding schools countrywide are overwhelmed by online applications from pupils seeking Form One places for next year.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mrs Tumisang Thabela said some pupils may fail to get admission at schools of their choice due to the huge number of applications.
The 2018 Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) released Grade Seven results early this week thereby opening up floodgates for a scramble for places.
Pupils seeking Form One boarding places applied online using the Electronic Ministry’s Application Platform (EMAP) launched by Government last year.
Speaking at the National Association of Schools Inspectors and Directors (Nasid) meeting yesterday Mrs Thabela said some schools received close to 4 000 applications yet they can offer just over 100 boarding places.
She urged parents and pupils to be ready to settle for second options.
“There are some schools with applications as high as 3 920 yet they have 120 available places,” said Mrs Thabela.
She called for zero tolerance to corruption in terms of places allocation.
“As district teams you are part of recruitment so let’s avoid rent-seeking behaviour in that area,” she said.
In an interview later, Mrs Thabela said: “I don’t have actual figures and names of schools here but we do have a number of schools that are overwhelmed. So what will happen is that parents and their children have to accept that they might not be able to get their first choice schools because of competition.
However, there are some that have not attracted anyone as of now.
“From the applications it’s clear that we had more applicants than available boarding places so some parents will have to make peace with the fact that not all of us can get boarding school places,” she said.
Last year there were a total of 24 246 Form One boarding school places against a potential demand of 367 629.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary said the 2018 Grade Seven pass rate of 52.08 percent was commendable, as she called for more research into some areas of study to further enhance effective teaching and learning.
She called for investment in research to enhance teaching in schools.
The total number of candidates who sat for the 2018 Grade Seven examinations was 327 492, a figure that is 0,43 percent higher than the October 2017 entry which was 326 109. The Chronicle