Govt, parents clash over June exams suspension



PARENTS are up in arms with government over its recent decision to suspend Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) June “O” and “A” Level examinations.

Most parents interviewed by NewsDay yesterday said they had spent a lot of money on extra lessons, only to be told that the examinations had been suspended.

Government last week announced that it had suspended the June Zimsec examinations that normally cater for supplementary examinations, citing COVID-19 delays in writing and marking of the November/December examinations, which negatively impacted the timing and the cycle of public examinations.

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa last week said the suspension of the June 2021 examinations would allow teachers and learners to focus on November examinations.

But parents said their children could not spend another full year preparing for examinations as they would have to fork out more money for extra lessons.

National Association of School Development Associations Committee chairperson Max Mkandla described government’s decision as irrational and unilateral.

“The government should put its house in order. The school calendar should have been clear at the beginning and this was supposed to be discussed in Parliament.  How can we allow all the candidates to be grouped together in November, neglecting the mid-year national examinations as usual?’’ Mkandla said.

He said the nation should work towards raising education standards, not to destroy them.

Bulawayo City Council health, housing and education committee chairperson Sinikiwe Mutanda said most of the parents were against the suspension of the June examinations.

“The problem is that people complain while seated and they do not know which offices to approach when faced with such setbacks. A lot of people from different groups are against the idea; the government should listen to people’s plea. This is something that we had before preparing for these examinations and students will lose knowledge by staying too long without writing,’’ Mutanda said.

But Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu welcomed government’s decision to suspend the examinations, saying it gave learners ample time to prepare for examinations in November.

  •  Follow Nizbert on Twitter @N.M