Before they returned to class last week, schoolchildren had been in school for only three months.
As a result of Covid-19, schools could not be opened on January 4 this year, but in a phased manner on March 15 for examination-writing classes and March 22 for those not writing their final examinations this year. They closed as scheduled on June 4, remaining closed until the first week of this month.
This disruption did not just affect learning but also registration for final examinations to be taken over the next few months.
Some parents and guardians were able to get their children and charges registered for the public tests, but there must be many others who did not get the chance to do so.
For this reason, the Government, through the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) has given a waiver for parents and guardians who fall into the second category.
Zimsec, in a weekend statement, said students who failed to meet the original registration deadline can still register and those who would do so will not be penalised.
“The facility will accommodate, inter alia, candidates who failed to meet the initial deadline for registration for the 2021 session, candidates who wish to add or delete subjects from their initial registration, Basic Education Assistance Module candidates and corrections of any registration errors by centres or candidates,” said Zimsec.
“Normal examination fees are applicable and all intending candidates are obliged to pay the required fees as indicated in the Zimsec Finance Circular number 1 of 2021. Late registration penalties have been waived during the special registration facility.”
This is a plausible decision because the deadline for registration for the November 2021 final examinations — July 2 and late registration on July 30 — fell during the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak. Infections, deaths and the number of the sick were at their highest. Additionally, the period between July 2 and 30 was the second month of the extended school holiday, extended by the Government in response to the spike in cases.
The lockdown was also at its tightest so students, parents and guardians who would have sought to travel schools to register for the examinations would not have had the chance to do so because of travel restrictions of that time with intercity travel banned.
Furthermore, the Zimsec decision is plausible because it gives candidates and examination centres room to make corrections on examination registration documents. All the time, Zimsec and centres provide time for students to ensure that their details are correct on registration papers.
As a result of the pandemic and the long holiday, they did not have the chance to do the corrections or alterations. We know how damaging to one’s future examination registration documents can be if they are processed with wrong details.
Zimsec has played its part.
Students, their parents and guardians must take advantage of this special window to not only register if they hadn’t, but to also make any corrections and or alterations they need to make so that they prepare for the examinations with a singleness of the mind.
Adequate preparations for anything, including examinations often lead to success.