Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) 2021 public examinations started on Monday with Ordinary Level practical subjects.
The subjects written so far are Textile Technology and Design, Wood Technology and Design and Metal Technology and Design.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is working closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to minimise exposure of pupils to the Covid-19 pandemic as they write the exams.
For the first time this year, Zimsec exams will capture pupils’ courserwork performance by including Continuous Assessment Learning Activity (CALA) marks in the final exam mark for Grade 7, “O” and “A” Level examinations.
Government has since last year been able to provide a safe environment for pupils to write the exams amid rising cases of Covid-19 in communities.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education communication and advocacy director, Mr Taungana Ndoro said the practical subjects exams went on smoothly as they were written under the Ministry of Health and Child Care and World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 guidelines.
Mr Ndoro said preparations for other subjects are at an advanced stage with Government working on addressing the issue of invigilators.
“As we speak everything is under control, examinations as I have said started with some practical subjects and the Ministry is confident that the examinations will proceed without a hitch. The Ministry has taken note of the concerns raised by some teachers and they are being addressed,” he said.
Mr Ndoro said Grade 7 pupils will be sitting for their first examination paper this coming Monday.
He said “O” and “A” levels examinations will spill into January.
“The attendance of teachers is almost 100 percent nationwide. We are looking at more than 95 percent of teachers reporting for duty,” he said.
The largest body representing teachers, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) secretary general Mr Goodwill Taderera said they are confident that Government will address their issues such as payment of invigilators.
“There is no strike taking place, exams will go on smoothly and we are confident the Government will address our concerns” he said.
This year schools were supposed to open in early January for the first term but ended up reopening in March due to the threat caused by the pandemic.
Schools then closed on June 4 and were set to open on June 28 but the re-opening was postponed. Schools were eventually re-opened on August 30 for examination classes and September 6 for the rest of the classes.
Due to the pandemic, school holidays have been prolonged, leaving learners with limited time to have face-to-face lessons with their teachers. Schools have been relying more on virtual lessons and radio lessons which some learners have failed to access.
The Education Ministry introduced catch up strategies to bring learners up to date.
This includes blended learning and teachers have been combining some topics and also targeting certain key topics in order to compress the syllabus and online learning.