BY BLESSED MHLANGA
GOVERNMENT has said the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) November examinations will go ahead as scheduled with a possibility of a spillover to 2022 despite the COVID-19-induced disruptions to the education calendar.
Addressing journalists during a post-Cabinet briefing, Primary and Secondary Education secretary Tumisang Thabela said not much learning time had been lost to warrant cancelling of public examinations.
“The long and short of it is we have consulted our system, especially the heads of our schools who run our shop floor level,” Thabela said.
“They have convinced us that given all the efforts we have made, it is possible to run examinations starting in 2021. We might spill over for some of the examinations to beginning of 2022.”
Teachers have been calling for postponement of examinations, claiming pupils were not prepared because they had limited learning time.
Apart from COVID-19-induced school closures, most teachers refused to report for duty when schools reopened in March for the first term, demanding better salaries and working conditions.
Schools introduced online lessons, but the new learning model disadvantaged most pupils, especially those from rural areas who have no internet connectivity. But government yesterday insisted not much time was lost because the current term would be long enough to cover the basics.
“This year, we have had two sessions, the first session was a whole term, which is about 60 days, this second session has 80 days instead of 60 days, which is your ordinary term, plus a third of that ordinary term.
“If you use simple arithmetic, the children have lost about two thirds of a term in terms of physical presence at school,” Thabela said.
“We believe our learners will be ready, by the way, Zimbabwean learners are hungry for education and the Zimbabwean teacher is always amazing when it comes to trying to get their child ready for their future,” she said.
Meanwhile, government said that a total of 14 schoolchildren and 19 teachers had tested positive to COVID-19 since schools reopened last week.