THE ZIMSEC Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations resumed smoothly yesterday as candidates sat for their first papers after a two-week festive break.
O-Level candidates sat for their Biology paper in the morning while A-Level students wrote Literature in English.
The last paper will be written on January 31.
President Mnangagwa last week deferred the planned January 10 opening of schools for all learners, but made it clear that those in the 2021 exam classes would continue going to school to write the outstanding papers.
The move to delay the opening of schools for the rest of the classes was necessitated by the increase in Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks and last week’s plateauing of what had been fast-falling infection rates.
Almost all exam candidates are vaccinated and the numbers are sufficiently small that they can be safely spaced out using the vacant classrooms to minimise risk of Covid-19 infection.
Yesterday, examinations went smoothly with strict compliance to Covid-19 protocols when reporters visited schools.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Mr Taungana Ndoro commended the way schools across the country handled the exams after the break.
“Everything went very well today. We did not experience any challenges. There was discipline in terms of the standard operating procedures. All we are now hoping for is that all learners finish the remaining papers and that they pass,” he said.
Most learners in boarding schools returned to school on Sunday in preparation of yesterday’s papers while a few others were spotted at bus terminuses boarding buses to their schools yesterday.
Learners who spoke to The Herald said the exams had gone well although some said they had not had enough time to prepare for the paper during the break.
“We wrote our paper without any challenges but some of us were not well prepared for this first paper since we are just coming out of a holiday when a lot was happening.
“I am just happy the paper was fair so I am hopeful that I passed,” said Natasha Kanyungwe, a Form Four pupil at Warren Park Secondary School.
Another pupil Kundai Musoro said although preparing for the exams over the Christmas break had been tough, she would continue studying hard for the remaining papers.
Mashonaland East Provincial Education Director Mrs Anatoria Ncube said exams had progressed smoothly with no major challenges encountered.
“Examinations across the province continued smoothly with no major challenges, and the turnover of students is overwhelming. Schools were observing Covid-19 protocols of sanitising and testing of temperature,” she said.
At Marondera High School and La Fontein College all procedures were conducted without challenges.
In Matabeleland South Province, the examination classes opened as planned.
“All went as planned and we haven’t had reports of any untoward incidents across the province,” Provincial Education Director Ms Beatrice Manjere said.
All schools in Mashonaland Central successfully opened for examination classes and everything went on smoothly.
The Provincial Education Director Mrs Naomi Chikosha could not comment on the resumption of exams after receiving news of the death of Rushinga District Schools Inspector.
The Government has called for the rest of the learners to continue with online and digital learning to ensure they cover ground during the lockdown period.
The Government has also been offering learning materials for all classes on the learning passport platform, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education website, as well as other platforms to ensure continuity of the learning process. – Herald