By Mukudzei Chingwere
The June 2021 Zimsec public examinations for both O and A-Levels have been cancelled following disruptions caused by Covid-19 and the resulting lockdown with those who had wanted to sit in June now joining the large majority who are being prepared to sit in November.
Other Covid-19 related measures announced yesterday include new higher-security vaccination certificates to prevent forgeries and permission for casinos to reopen under strict rules.
The decision to suspend the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council June examinations arose from the delays in sitting the public examinations at the end of last year and the alterations of the standard calendar for education this year caused by schools having to be closed for the first two and half months of this year to combat the second wave of infection.
Logistics will be put in place to ensure candidates who wanted to sit their examinations in June will do so together with other students in November, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.
“Cabinet considered and approved a request for the suspension of the Zimsec June 2021 Ordinary and Advanced Level examination session, which was presented by the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.”
“Cabinet was advised that the Covid-19 pandemic that broke out in 2020 had negatively impacted on the timing and cycle of public examinations, with the 2020 Grade 7, O-Level and A-Level examinations having commenced in early December 2020 and ended in early February 2021, instead of the usual period stretching from October to November of each year,” she said.
“The delay in writing and the marking of the previous examinations has affected the preparation and the setting of the next examination hence the decision to temporarily suspend the June 2021 examinations. This suspension of the June 2021 examination session will allow for timely focus on the November examination preparations and aid an effective focus of resources,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Government was also continuing with its delicate process of allowing more social contact without risking a spike in Covid-19 infections.
Yesterday, Minister Mutsvangwa announced the re-opening of casinos under strict containment measures ,and those found wanting risked losing their licences.
“Cabinet informs the nation that henceforth, casinos will be allowed to re-open with strict observance of Covid-19 guidelines. Those found disregarding the guidelines will have their licences revoked. Casinos have been closed since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Minister Mutsvangwa also announced the heightened security features on the Covid-19 vaccination card to get rid of counterfeits now in circulation.
The vaccination card will be manufactured in liaison with Fidelity Printers and the Registrar Generals’ Office.
“The Card, to be printed by Fidelity Printers, will exhibit the following features: invisible coat of arms, which shines under UV light, fluorescent numbering, water-marked security paper, micro text underground and guilloche pattern.
“Government will leave no stone unturned in apprehending greedy malcontents bent on tampering with the security features of the vaccination cards,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She also announced that 133 992 people had received their first dose and 23 432 their second dose as of April 6.
“In a bid to promote use of all official languages, the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services embarked on a project to produce and package jingles and skits for fostering social coherence, national culture and development.
“At the end of the sixth (100-day) cycle, four Kalanga, four Venda and four Ndebele Covid-19 radio skits had been produced. Furthermore, eight Shona, five Ndebele, four English and one Chewa video skits were produced and aired to the public.”
Minister Mutsvangwa also announced efforts to improve vulnerable communities’ access to information, through establishing Community Information Centres (CICs) in 10 selected areas during the sixth 100-day cycle.
“By the end of the cycle, all the ten CICs had been established, set up and operationalised at Buli High School, Esigodini Post Office, Zengeza Post Office, Kambuzuma Post Office, Filabusi Post Office, Northend Post Office, Belmont Post Office, Matabisa Post Offices, Juliasdale Mission Hospital and Hatfield Post Office,” she said. The Herald