HARARE – Final year students will sit their ZIMSEC examinations this year, the government announced on Tuesday risking confrontation with teachers, learners and parents.
Schools closed prematurely in March following the coronavirus outbreak, but lack of internet connectivity for a majority of pupils means many are not prepared for the exams set for November and December.
Speaking following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said: “Cabinet notes that schools are continuing with their preparations for the re-opening of schools for final examination classes.
The developed and approved guidelines that were put in place for the June 2020 examinations will be used for the holding of the final examinations in November/December.”
Schools temporarily re-opened in June for pupils who registered to sit the mid-y
ear examinations. The government limited the number of pupils per classroom in line with social distancing guidelines, but this will be harder to meet when all classes resume owing to a classroom and teacher shortage.
Teachers’ unions have demanded that the government provides personal protective equipment before schools can re-open, but the broke government is unlikely to meet those demands, risking a rapid spread of the virus.
Some countries like Kenya closed schools for the rest of the year. In the United Kingdom, pupils will be given exam grades as predicted by their teachers.
Unions have also threatened to join nurses and doctors who have been on strike demanding better pay.
Raymond Majongwe of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe wrote on Twitter Tuesday: “Teachers’ salaries are now below the Z$4,000 (about US$40) we got last month as service providers increased their deductions. What does the government expect these Zimbabweans to do? Watch in silence?”
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