Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Reporter—
Government said yesterday that it is illegal for schools to bar pupils from writing examinations because the issue of writing examinations is a contract between the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) and pupils and therefore has nothing to do with school authorities.
It ordered the schools barring the pupils from writing the exams to stop forthwith or face the wrath of the law.
The Government directive follows reports this week that some schools were barring pupils from writing examinations over outstanding tuition fees and levies.
Pupils under the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) have also not been spared.
In an interview yesterday, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Ms Kwadzanai Nyanungo said the schools had no authority to bar pupils from writing examinations as their only role was to facilitate the writing of the exams.
“The moment a child’s name is registered with Zimsec, they would have made a contract with the examination council. They are entitled to sit for the examination they would have registered for.
“The schools should therefore not dare tamper with the pupils’ right to write examinations,” said Ms Nyanungo.
Ordinary Level practical examinations started on Tuesday while Advanced Level examinations are set for Monday next week.
Ms Nyanungo advised schools to engage parents when it comes to payment of tuition fees and levies and urged them to desist from victimising pupils.
“If a school is owed fees, it should never try to get its money at the expense of a child. A child cannot be blamed for a family’s poverty. Adults should deal with each other. If you send children home for non-payment of fees or levies, you are illegally punishing the innocent children,” said Ms Nyanungo.
She urged affected parents and pupils to report the issue to the nearest ministry offices so that the Government takes appropriate action.
Said Ms Nyanungo: “We want all affected pupils to quickly contact our offices. That is why we have district education offices, provincial education offices and the Permanent Secretary’s offices so that we deal with such cases.”
She said her ministry would deploy officials to all parts of the country to monitor the situation and ensure that no child was blocked from writing examinations over non-payment of fees.
Some of the affected schools are Buvuma and Sukwi secondary schools in Gwanda and Gohole Secondary and Cyrene High School in Matobo District.
Other schools were already barring pupils from attending lessons at a time when they are supposed to be preparing for examinations.
The development has angered parents who have accused the schools of destroying their children’s future.