BY PRESTIGE MUNTANGA
MATABELELAND North province is said to be leading in terms of school dropouts, amid reports that 40% to 50% of learners that are supposed to sit for examinations are failing to register.
This was revealed by the Matabeleland North provincial education director Jabulani Mpofu who told Southern Eye that there had been very low registration turnout by learners in the province for the November “O” Level examinations, even as the deadline was drawing nearer.
“In Matabeleland North, only 40% to 50% students have managed to register, which is way too low compared to the total number of students that are expected to actually sit for the examination,” he said.
“The deadline for registration is July 9. There is nothing that we can do to help those who can’t afford to pay for their exam registration because it’s something that needs to be looked at by the government.”
Villagers interviewed by Southern Eye in Tyunga, Binga, said government was violating students’ rights to access to education by increasing examination fees, to levels which they cannot afford.
Government recently increased examination fees for both “O” and “A” level to $5 194 for seven “O” level subjects and $3 240 for three “A” subjects.
“The government is violating our children’s rights because if they fail to sit for examinations, what are they going to do in life?” one villager, Madala Muponde, asked rhetorically.
“Many students have dropped out of schools and are now going to fishing camps to try and earn a living. The majority of us are not working. How can we afford the so-called registration fees? It is clear that government has no interest in hearing our cries.”
Last week, teachers’ unions urged Treasury to release $2, 9 billion and allocate it towards examination fees for November “O” and “A” Level students, saying that parents could not afford the new charges due to the effects of COVID-19.
In 2020, more than 15 000 examination candidates failed to register, and the situation is expected to be worse this year.