IN a sign of the growing international respect for the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC), the South African government has requested that its students be examined by the body with the two countries expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on the matter in January next year.
South Africa’s request comes at a time when ZIMSEC is making strides in improving its examination processes and enhancing its international reputation.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Torerayi Moyo last week told the Senate during its question time that several countries have expressed interest in adopting ZIMSEC examinations.
This was after Senator Chief Chikwaka had raised questions on the perceived disparities between Cambridge and ZIMSEC examination boards.
“Mr President Sir, there are certain countries which also want to have ZIMSEC examinations. South Africa has made an application that they want their children to be examined by our ZIMSEC board. The Minister (Ms Angelina Motshekga) is coming next year in January for a memorandum of understanding,” he said.
In response to concerns that the presence of Cambridge in Zimbabwe was creating learning disparities, Minister Moyo highlighted the progress that ZIMSEC has made, and how it was gaining respect as an examination board.
“It does not mean that the children that sit for ZIMSEC examinations are disadvantaged. In terms of the question that has been posed, he said why do we not have ZIMSEC as the single examination board? No one would want us to have Cambridge as our examination board, ZIMSEC is our local board.”
Minister Moyo, however, said constitutional amendments had to be made to enable ZIMSEC to become the sole examination board in the country.
“For us to be able to change what is in the Constitution, it begins with the senators in the Senate, the MPs in the National Assembly as well as the civic organisations.
“Individuals or civic organisations may petition Parliament in terms of Section 149 of the Constitution indicating their reasons for wanting to have a single examination board,” he said.
Stakeholders welcomed the development and the growing confidence in ZIMSEC as a strong and credible board.
Child President, Neville Mavu said the request was a validation of the Zimbabwe education system.
“Firstly, it would mean that the Zimbabwean examination system is considered to be of a high standard and can be trusted by other countries and it makes our education system more attractive to foreign students.
“It would provide an opportunity for Zimbabwean students to compete with their South African counterparts, which could help to raise standards and encourage excellence in our schools as Zimbabwe,” Mavu said.
Mr Justice Mfiri, Secretary of the Zimbabwe Institute of African Integration, a youth empowerment lobby group, said: “The request indicates that we have gained trust in the region and beyond as an excellent human capital development hub.
“It is testament to the excellence of our education system, and in Pan African terms, this is also a move that shows an unmatched desire for integration, it is for the mutual benefit of our schoolchildren.”
ZIMSEC, which has in the past been dogged by examination leakages, has initiated several new strategies to curb malpractices which include the daily delivery of question papers to examination centres and provision of examination material such as answer scripts and science chemicals.
The examinations body has also introduced stiffer penalties to curb leakages, which will see individuals convicted of the malpractice facing up to nine years in jail while learners found guilty of the same offence will have their results nullified.
Source – The Herald