By Nqobile Tshili
The marking of Grade Seven examinations starts today as the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) Ordinary and Advanced level candidates resume examinations tomorrow.
Form Four and Form Six started writing final examinations on December 1 before taking a break for the festive season and are set to resume writing the exams tomorrow and complete on February 5.
Yesterday, a handful of candidates started returning to the boarding schools’ examination centres amid Covid-19 concerns.
Schools remain closed as Government is implementing Covid-19 prevention measures including a tightened lockdown confining most citizens at home.
Zimsec spokesperson Ms Nicky Dlamini said the marking of Grade Seven examinations is starting today.
“Marking of Grade Seven exams starts tomorrow and everything is now in place. We are expecting the results to be out by end of this month,” said Ms Dlamini.
She said Zimsec was satisfied with the preparations to resume writing of exams by Form Four and Form Six candidates
“We are prepared, examination papers have been distributed and centres have been equipped for the examinations.
There is nothing that has changed. We are starting on Tuesday,” she said.
Ms Dlamini said while Zimsec administers the examinations, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education was responsible for ensuring centres are Covid-19 prepared.
This follows concerns from parents and guardians who are worried that their children are resuming writing exams when Covid-19 cases are on the increase countrywide.
The parents and guardians who were with their children at the schools’ pickup points yesterday said it was important for school authorities to ensure children are not exposed to the pandemic as they write the exams.
Mr Cornelius Ngwenya whose child is writing exams at Tsholotsho High School, said it has been a difficult learning year for children and as parents they hoped children would be safe during the remaining days of their exams.
“We just have to accept the disruptive nature that came with Covid-19. It did not just affect our children but a lot of things.
So, we are concerned that they are returning to schools especially at a time when there is an increase in Covid-19 cases. There is however nothing we can do because they have to complete writing the examinations and focus on the next stage,” said Mr Ngwenya
Another parent, Mr Shadreck Magadzike whose child is a candidate at a Matabeleland South school complained about the fees being demanded by schools which he said were too high.
“We paid fees last term and we have to pay again yet our children are just going to be there for less than a month.
There is no accountability but what we want is just for our children to be able to complete their studies. We are happy that they are completing their examinations but we are worried about the increase of Covid-19 cases,” said Mr Magadzike.
Primary and Secondary Education Ministry spokesperson Mr Taungana Ndoro on Friday said the Ministry is strictly implementing Standard Operating Procedures to minimise the pupils exposure to the pandemic.
He said schools were also justified to charge fees for the duration of time candidates will be in boarding schools for the examinations.
“For those in boarding schools they have to have an arrangement with the school because remember they have to pay for lodging, food, catering and those things are not for free. However, for day scholars they don’t have to pay. They are just coming to school to write their examinations and leave, they are just using the school as a centre,” he said. The Chronicle