Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
THE use of so-called miracle pens without proper examination preparation is a recipe for disaster for school pupils, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Lazarus Dokora, has said.
He said this as he castigated school heads who are falling prey to con prophets who are making money by selling the “anointed pens” at their schools to unsuspecting pupils.
Addressing parents and school administrators from 576 primary and secondary schools in the Midlands province in Gweru yesterday, Minister Dokora said last year they were shocked to hear that some prophets were selling anointed pens for as much as $20 each.
He said some children failed to read or prepare for examinations as they relied solely on the pens to pass examinations.
“We heard of prophets selling anointed pens last year. Our school heads even fell for it and were working with the prophets. They sold the pens at the schools. We heard that students were asked to buy a pen for about $20 and worse still, they were told that the miracle can only work if they used a pen for each examination and in a way making the prophets make more money by selling more pens. That is not the way to go. Some pupils ended up not revising or preparing for examinations,” he said.
Minister Dokora said the issue of anointed pens was an indication that the education sector must be transformed so that people can make better judgments.
On school fees, the Minister reiterated that schools should not hold onto pupils’ examination results to force parents to pay outstanding fees.
He said schools should take parents to court or appeal to chiefs to resolve the matters.
A number of pupils have been affected by the practice that has since been condemned by human rights lawyers.