The question of the right to education in Zimbabwe

By Khethiwe Mathuthu

The announcement of the writing of exams by the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) which are set to kick start on December has caused a lot of mayhem from both students, teachers as well as the public at large leaving many confused as to whether or not exams should be written.

Its no secret 2020 has been one hell of a ride a bumpy and a rocky one. This affected the education system in a tremendous way as one notes that at the beginning of the year there was a strike which took place and affected the learning process of students. This has resulted on the learning system hitting rock bottom and darkness covering the light that was to help the writing candidates for both June and November. As if that wasn’t enough, there was the covid19 pandemic which made things even worse as students found themselves in an unplanned 7months holiday which restricted them from learning and further acquiring the knowledge and skill wanted for their exams, either by attending lessons at school or via extra lessons or even the introduced online learning that many could not afford. But, however, despite all that, the big announcement was made by ZIMSEC approved by the Government clearly stating that exams will commence as planned. Considering that teachers are on strike, now the question on everyone’s mind is: Are the candidates going to pass? Did they study hard enough to write in December? How is the pass rate going to look like and is it even a good move?

In a conversation with Nomqhele Moyo a registered O’level candidate, she raised quite strong and valid concerns as she notes that writing exams is not a good move as they did not study hard enough because of the strike at the beginning of the year that totally disturbed their learning. She furiously asked whether or not the examination board did consider those who are first time ZIMSEC sitters who do not even have a slightest idea on what to expect and do as they lack the skills wanted by the ZIMSEC markers when answering their papers. She also raised another powerful point worth putting into consideration that seeing as this is a national exam it means that it does not only cover Urban areas alone but Rural areas as well. Did they consider whether or not they could manage to acquire data to help themselves with online learning lessons which even the Urban areas candidates failed to get since the economy is on a downward mobility and it is not everyone who could afford the data whose prices also sky rocketed to many’s amazement. She further went on to say that they were far from finishing their syllabus as this new curriculum covers a lot concepts. She raised a worry that most people needed a push almost 70% need teacher’s guidance to motivate, encourage them to read and push them to their fullest potential unlike the 30 that is self driven which will result in the pass rate dropping profusely.

We also had a conversation with Mr Blessing Sibanda a teacher by profession argues that life is not rosy and people should not have things easy, they have to work hard and be determined. Three months is enough for them to prepare and write and pass their examinations as long as their determined. He notes that were the June candidates prepared? The answer is no but they wrote still and if they could manage to write why should the November ones be exempted from writing? He further says candidates should learn to adapt ,they should have met the teachers half way by studying at home, by reading on their own which could have made things easier for teachers explaining to their students where they read and did not understand instead of relaxing.

From the above perspectives its pretty much clear that we are not sure what to expect ,we are not sure of the outcome of these exams and results this year. What do you as our readers think? Should we have moved the exams to next year? Given the candidates enough time to study?

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