BY BRENNA MATENDERE
THE Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) has urged the government to postpone the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council’s November examinations to May next year saying learners in remote areas were totally unprepared due to closure of schools five months ago.
Schools were closed in March this year due to the COVID-19 scourge but on Tuesday last week Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-Cabinet news conference that they would now be opened next month with examinations for Ordinary and Advanced Level classes going ahead between November and December.
Artuz president Obert Masaraure told NewsDay yesterday that the decision would affect rural pupils who had no access to electronic learning technology compared to their peers in urban areas.
“The examinations will be forced down the throats of over 650 000 unprepared learners who had no access to remote learning after COVID-19-induced schools closure of 24 March 2020. An average of 32 000 elite learners who enjoyed exclusionary access to online learning will be ready for these apartheid examinations,” he said.
“Examination candidates have lost five solid months of learning time in the critical final year of their studies. They are likely to lose more. Traditionally, these lost months are dedicated to completing the syllabi and embarking on a robust revision process to recall concepts covered in the first academic year of the two-year course. It is practically impossible to frog march these ill-prepared learners into the examination room and expect them cough out good results.”
Masaraure reiterated that postponing examinations was the only way best for poor rural learners.
“Our proposal is to move the November examinations to May 2021 to afford learners time to prepare. Government should also urgently attend to our May 4 position paper which detailed a roadmap to safe schools opening. Teacher salaries should be paid in a stable currency to avert a looming job action which will disrupt learning,” he said.
“The right to education as espoused in section 75 of Zimbabwe’s Constitution should be respected. The agency of education stakeholders is needed now than ever.”