Legislators not convinced about schools’ preparedness for examinations

Parliamentarians have expressed reservations on the schools’ preparedness for public examinations due before year-end and have since requested Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister, Edgar Moyo to prepare a statement on the matter.

Examinations are set to begin at the end of November for Grade 7s while those for Ordinary and Advanced Level will run from mid-December and overlap into 2022.

“My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education insofar as it relates to examinations for the children who have started school,” said Chegutu West legislator, Dexter Nduna, during a question and answer session in the National Assembly Wednesday.

“What is Government’s position relating to the examinations that are going to be conducted irrespective of the fact that schools have been closed but the examination dates have not been moved in respect of the proclamation by the government, of the dates of the examination for the children both in primary and secondary school ‘O’ and ‘A’ level?

In his response, Moyo said schools were implementing catch-up programmes.

“Insofar as the point that children have lost time, we are employing catch up strategies to ensure that the children do catch up and one of them is through blended learning where we are using different learning and teaching platforms,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.

“Inclusive of that is going to be materials that are going to be given to children and some of them have not been given those materials and e-learning so that they do catch-up. Insofar as the dates, we are starting with Grade Sevens end of November and then overlapping into 2022 for the ‘O’ and ‘A’ level examinations. We think our children would have been prepared for examinations by that time.”

MPs were however not convinced by Moyo’s justification of the glaring situation.

“It also comes to mind and it is a fact that children are attending school twice a week if not once a week,” said Nduna.

“Would it please the Minister to move the dates for the examinations a little bit further to allow the children to catch up both online and also physical interaction which has been hampered by attendance at school on face to face?”

Other legislators said the critical shortage of teachers at some schools would seriously affect the learners’ readiness for the exams resulting in the House requesting for ministerial statement.

“I think we can arrange that and then in the next sitting of Parliament, we can bring that up,” said Moyo. 

“I think we need maybe a week because we need to check, consolidate and make sure that what we bring to the House is correct.”

National Assembly Speaker, Jacob Mudenda said the ministerial statement should also address the issue of schools where there is one teacher teaching grades 1 to 7, disadvantaging especially grade 7s who are going to write the examinations.

“In that statement could the Hon. Minister currently also include issues on the administration of CALA (Continuous Assessment Learning Activities) because I realise even school administrators in the form of headmasters themselves in my constituency are only going through the CALA training process at the very moment,” added Magwegwe lawmaker, Anele Ndebele.

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