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The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) is pushing for the extension of the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) registration for November public examinations to August saying the parents needed more time to fundraise for the fees given that the charges were beyond the reach of many.
Although the deadline for registration is July 9, 2021, most schools closed the registration for the examinations on June 30.
PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said an extension to August would enable many learners to register for the exams bearing in mind the current hardships and lockdowns that affect fundraising activities at family level.
According to Matabeleland North provincial education director, Jabulani Mpofu, about 40% of students had registered by the June 30.
“We call on the government and ZIMSEC to extend the registration time for candidates until at least early August to enable as many learners as possible to register for these examinations bearing in mind the current hardships, and the lockdowns that affect fundraising activities at family level,” Majongwe said.
He added: “It is clearly not long enough given the challenges faced by parents in raising the fees during the Covid-19 period. Many schools are reporting that a big number of their learners are finding it difficult to register owing to financial difficulties.
Government increased examination fees for both “O” and “A” levels to ZWL$5 194 for seven “O” level subjects and ZWL$3 240 for three “A” subjects. Th e fees are beyond the reach of many.
Last year, more than 15 000 examination candidates failed to register.
Majongwe said while the has committed to subsidising the examination registration fees, in practice that money may not come on time or may not come at all, according to what has happened before.
“Th is is likely to lead ZIMSEC into another conundrum such as we witnessed in March this year when it failed to fund the transport, subsistence and accommodation of the markers who went starving and living in very uncomfortable environments.
“Th e fact that ZIMSEC failed to pay its markers for three months after they finished marking is evidence that the government is not funding ZIMSEC as it claims.”
“If we are to have a seamless examination and marking session this year, we demand that the government should stop paying lip service to the funding of ZIMSEC, and that marking and invigilation contracts for teachers be consummated through discussions with their relevant representatives before the sessions get underway. If that does not happen, we can promise that this year’s examination and marking sessions will not be eventless.
Majongwe said most external candidates were also having difficulties in registering in view of the continuous assessment learning activities (CALA) in which pupils have to do a minimum of 5 tasks per subject area by October.
“Many ZIMSEC centres have dropped registration of external candidates in view of the fact that the workload of teachers has bloated, and many teachers are unwilling to supervise external candidates for the tasks under CALA.
“We believe that by the end of the registration period most will not have managed to register.
It is our reasoned opinion that CALA must be postponed to a later date to allow students that completed in the past an opportunity to supplement without hindrances, as well as giving enough time to develop assessment tools, harness funding, and ensure standardisation and interoperability of CALA.” ■