The Sunday News
DATES for the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) 2020 June examinations will likely be determined at the end of the lockdown period, it has been learnt.
Representatives of teacher organisations are split on whether or not the exams should proceed. Learners, however, continue to fret that the exams are likely to be postponed to give way to the current fight against the coronavirus. Writing of Zimsec mid-year exams normally begins end of May. Government imposed a 21-day national lockdown, which started on 30 March, to limit movements and, therefore, curtail the spread of the virus.
Primary and secondary schools had already been instructed to close earlier than scheduled as part of the unprecedented far-reaching measures to avoid infections. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mrs Tumisang Thabela, said the outcome of the national lockdown would inform the way forward on the June examinations.
“For now it is a bit premature to talk about postponing the exams while we are still in the lockdown. We will be guided by the evidence in front of us once the lockdown is over.”
But preparations are still continuing. The country’s primary and secondary schools examinations body says the window to register for the exams has since been extended to accommodate learners who might have been inconvenienced by the current restrictions.
In a statement, Zimsec said it would be guided by the outcome of the lockdown, with late June registrations set to be accommodated in the November sittings.
“Zimsec, like any other institution, is not privy to what will happen after the 21 days of the lockdown, but would like its valued stakeholders to know that a window for the registration for November 2020 examinations will be provided when the lockdown is lifted,” read part of the statement.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president, Dr Takavafira Zhou, said postponing the June examinations will be unfair to the candidates as most have had ample time to prepare.
However, Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) secretary-general, Mr Tapson Sibanda, disagreed.
“Although it is not certain yet as to what will happen in the next few days, we are advocating for the postponement of the exams since candidates did not have enough time to prepare. However, we would like to applaud the Government for extending the registration dates.”
Some private colleges have postponed exams until next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This follows the cancellation of both June and November Cambridge international exams for 2020 due the coronavirus crisis.