GOVERNMENT has thrown a lifeline to Grade Seven, Form Four and Six candidates who could not register for the 2023 Zimbabwe School Examination Council exams due to financial constraints, The Manica Post can reveal.
The examination rescue package — targeted at vulnerable candidates that could not meet ZIMSEC conditions due to financial hardships — has coincided with the November Ordinary and Advanced levels candidate registration mop-up exercise which started on Monday and will run until Sunday.
Manicaland has at least 1 280 schools with at least 460 000 learners, some of whom had failed to register for the November examinations.
ZIMSEC has issued the interbank rate to be used for those paying for exam fees as $1 207 to US$1.
The registration fees are accepted in USD, Rand and local currency.
The affected candidates where not covered under the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) and some were victims of development partners that cut funding and aborted the beneficiaries during last year’s third term.
This olive branch is coming at a time when Government has poured additional funding to ensure that the BEAM package covers uniforms and stationery, among other education-related costs, thus giving the beneficiaries a fair opportunity to get good quality education.
Since the inception of BEAM in 2001, Government had only been catering for tuition and exam fees for the learners, but things took a positive turn last year when the Second Republic revamped the programme to ensure that vulnerable children get additional funding to enhance their quality of life in school.
In 2022, a total of 228 549 were funded through BEAM.
Of the 228 549 beneficiaries, 137 000 were enrolled at primary schools while 91 420 were at secondary schools.
While BEAM is coordinated by the Department of Social Services (DSS) in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, the latest exam rescue programme is being conducted by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
Manicaland Provincial Education Director (PED), Mr Edward Shumba confirmed the latest development, adding that a full list of all affected vulnerable candidates in Manicaland should be ready by today (Friday).
“Our Head Ooffice has asked us to compile a list of Grade Seven, Form Four and Upper Six candidates who could not register for the November 2023 public examination due to financial constraints.
“The candidates are being advised to go to their schools and have their details captured using the template already in schools so that Government can assist them to sit for their exams in liaison with ZIMSEC.
“It is urgent, this information should be in by the end of week so that we can send it to Head Office in Harare,’ said Mr Shumba.
Mr Shumba said affected candidates are responding to the call.
“Vulnerable candidates are coming forward. We do not have ready statistics yet as the province is large and a number of schools are still compiling the names of the affected candidates for submission to our Head Office so that Government can assist them.
“From what we have gathered, these candidates have genuine financial constraints to the extent that they failed to register for the exams,” said Mr Shumba.
Some school heads confirmed submitting their paperwork for onward submission to the Education Ministry.