Sunday, 9 August 2020

RE-OPENING OF SCHOOLS HANGS IN THE BALANCE


THE re-opening of schools this year hangs in the balance with officials saying they are continuing to monitor the Covid-19 pandemic trends in the country, especially relating to local transmissions before committing themselves to a particular position.

Last month Government deferred the re-opening of schools to a later date from the initial 28 July citing the rising number of local transmissions. As of Friday, the country had recorded 4 451 confirmed Covid-19 cases with 3 353 being local transmissions.

In an interview with Sunday News, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Cde Edgar Moyo said they could not commit themselves to when schools will eventually open or on the sitting of the November public examinations. He, however, revealed that the Ministry was taking advantage of the uncertainty of the actual re-opening dates to gather the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) so that by the time schools eventually open they will be ready.

“We are presently monitoring trends particularly Covid-19 local infections, if they continue escalating as they are doing now, we will have to defer re-opening further, mainly as a means of protecting our learners and teachers. As a Ministry, however, we have continued readying ourselves for the eventual re-opening through the purchasing of PPEs and perfecting our modules. We have also been fine tuning our radio lessons and to communities that do not get radio signals we are also in the process of producing physical modules related to the radio lessons,” said Deputy Minister Moyo. 

On the sitting of November public examinations, the Deputy Minister revealed that it will be directly related to the re-opening of schools, noting that since those sitting for the examinations were predominantly school candidates there was a need for them to get adequate learning time before writing the exams.

“For June examinations you should note that most of those writing were private candidates but for the November examinations we mainly have school candidates hence for them to be ready to sit for the exams. They need adequate learning time so that they are able to complete the syllabus. So, at the moment the only time we can talk of November examinations is when we have a set date for the re-opening of schools,” he said.

Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) chairperson Professor Eddie Mwenje is on record as saying examinations will only be written when students have completed the syllabus and when it is safe to do so, even if it means pushing the examinations to December this year or January next year. He said Zimsec understands that there was little time for students to prepare for examinations given that schools closed in March this year.

Prof Mwenje, however, said Zimsec would not compromise the quality and substance of Zimbabwe’s education by lowering the pass mark for students to score better grades. Instead, they would ensure that the syllabus is completed before students sit for exams. Schools were closed in March and the second term was supposed to have come to an end last week. Under normal circumstances, Grade Seven pupils were supposed to start writing examinations next month. Sunday News

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