Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe(PTUZ) has chided the Zimbabwe Examinations Council (Zimsec) for refusing to postpone the registration deadline date for June and November public examinations despite the country being under a 21-day national lockdown.
PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe, in a statement, condemned Zimsec for exposing learners, parents and school administrators to Coronavirus as they flock to schools in a bid to register for this year`s Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations.
Business came to a standstill in the country after President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared a 21-day national lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Schools were forced to close two weeks earlier as a prevention measure meant to enable learners to stay at home and protect themselves from contracting the virus.
Majongwe said the registration process should be shelved until such a time the nation certifies itself safe from COVID-19.
“Schools were closed at less than two working days’ notice as a result of the urgent situation brought by the COVID-19, for which we don’t blame anyone. It is a fact that in relation to the November 2020 examinations, a small proportion of the candidates had paid the exam fees at the time schools were closed,” said Majongwe.
“Most schools had not started capturing the data related to that. Banks were also instructed to close for 21 days like everyone else. It beats us why Zimsec and MOPSE have continued to bury their heads in the sand and continued with the business-as-usual attitude when it is known that parents and candidates cannot go and pay the exam fees at banks until the 21-day quarantine period is over.”
Majongwe said more than three-quarters of the schools in Zimbabwe have no internet connection, mostly rural ones, hence school heads have to travel to the nearest internet access points which are not very safe spaces at this time.
“We understand ZIMSEC’s need to be efficient in its preparations for the examinations. What we don’t understand is the Dutch courage being exhibited in the face of Coronavirus,” said Majongwe.
“Such reckless bravery is shocking to say the least. Let us shelf the registration process for November until this problem is over. Nobody will blame you if the registration process starts in earnest even as late as June. Zimbabwe is our country and we can extend deadlines and still accomplish our tasks when everyone is safe.”