The Higher and Tertiary Education ministry has introduced a new policy on curriculum development and examinations which will see coursework accounting for 60% of the final mark against 40% for examinations.
The new policy has been sharply criticised by some academics who believe it will all but destroy the local education system, which the United Nations adjudges to be arguably the finest in Africa.
According to a circular sent to all polytechnics and teacher training colleges by the ministry this month, the new policy is effective from the November 2011 examinations.
Candidates will also pass on aggregate, meaning the mark from the coursework will be added onto the final mark to attain the grade.
Lecturers and students, however, believe the new system might compromise the education system, given that many students in tertiary institutions allegedly engage experts to do their assignments.
One lecturer said: “What it means is that a person can go into the final examination having already passed. If you get 60% in coursework and get 0% in the final examination, your mark will stand at 60%,” said a lecturer at Harare Polytechnic.
“Before this policy, coursework was contributing 40% and the final examination 60%, but this has now been reversed, which is unfortunate because we were advocating for a situation where the final examination would contribute 75%, like at
the University of Zimbabwe.
Students are known to hire lecturers or other people to do their coursework and it is a tragedy that the ministry has taken this path.”