The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) November examinations will go ahead as scheduled with a possibility of a spillover to 2022, a senior government official has said.
Addressing journalists during a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare on Tuesday evening, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education secretary Tumisang Thabela said not much learning time had been lost to warrant cancelling of public examinations. She said:
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The long and short of it is we have consulted our system, especially the heads of our schools who run our shop floor level.
They have convinced us that given all the efforts we have made, it is possible to run examinations starting in 2021.
We might spill over for some of the examinations to the beginning of 2022.
The government said not much time was lost due to COVID-19 restrictions as schools introduced online lessons and also because the current term would be long enough to cover the basics. Thabela said:
This year, we have had two sessions, the first session was a whole term, which is about 60 days, this second session has 80 days instead of 60 days, which is your ordinary term, plus a third of that ordinary term.
If you use simple arithmetic, the children have lost about two-thirds of a term in terms of physical presence at school.
We believe our learners will be ready, by the way, Zimbabwean learners are hungry for education and the Zimbabwean teacher is always amazing when it comes to trying to get their child ready for their future.
Teachers have been calling for the postponement of examinations, claiming pupils were not prepared because they had limited learning time.
Meanwhile, the government said that a total of 14 schoolchildren and 19 teachers had tested positive for COVID-19 since schools reopened last week.