600 000 to sit for exams amid Covid-19…affected pupils to write in isolation

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THE Government has assured the nation that this year’s public examinations will proceed this week with more than 600 000 candidates expected to sit for the exams despite the spiking Covid-19 cases in some schools.

Primary and Secondary Education Director for Communications Mr Taungana Ndoro said examinations would go forward unabated despite the spiking cases in schools, adding that they have prepared adequately. He said pupils who have contracted Covid-19 will write in isolation while the examination rooms will continuously be disinfected to curb the possible spread of the pandemic in schools.

He said more than 300 Covid-19 cases have been recorded among school pupils since the schools opening nationally against a population of more than 4.5 million pupils countrywide. More than 600 000 have registered for the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) examinations. However, those writing practical examinations started two weeks ago.

Mr Ndoro said Zimbabwe was the only country in Africa that had managed to hold the examinations successfully in June at the peak of the pandemic due to robust standard operation procedures implemented by the ministry. As of last week Friday, there were 184 cases at John Tallach in Ntabazinduna, 57 cases at Chinhoyi High, more than 20 cases at All Souls Mission, 19 cases at Anderson Adventist High, more than 10 cases at Matopo High, three cases at Rujeko Primary, among others. Mr Ndoro said Covid-19 cases recorded in schools was a minor setback.

“We are aware that there may be cases in schools and among school pupils. This is just a minor setback. We are going ahead with the Zimsec examinations despite the pandemic. We are the only country that managed to hold the examinations at the peak of the pandemic. So, we have very efficient standard operation procedures that we have put in place to ensure early detection of cases in schools. So, the pandemic is there as a distraction but as a ministry we will not be defeated by the pandemic. The focus is on the country’s socio-economic development which is driven by the education sector.

The pandemic maybe with us for the unforeseeable future but that does not mean that the learning should stop. We have more than 600 000 candidates that have registered for the November examinations. In total we have a student population of about 4.5 million,” he said.

Mr Ndoro said there were more than 80 percent teachers in schools that have been preparing pupils for the examinations and the pupils have also shown enthusiasm to write the exams.

“There has been commitment shown by teachers in schools. More than 80 percent of teachers are in schools teaching and preparing the learners for the examinations. The students themselves are enthusiastic about writing the examinations. So, we will proceed with them while following the guidelines set by the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Those that have contracted Covid-19 will write in isolation,” he said. – Sunday News