Zimbabwean school examination classes re-open Monday





HARARE – Schools re-open on Monday with the resumption of O-Level and A-Level examinations following the fortnight break for Christmas and New Year, the shortest Christmas holiday ever while the rest of the pupils start a week later on Monday January 10.

Parents have been busy preparing for the resumption of examinations and the return of the rest of the classes while shops that sell uniforms are fully stocked for the opening of schools.

Pupils began writing the exams of the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council on November 22 and will finish by the end of next month. 

Exams were held as late as possible after the long school closure earlier last year to give pupils the best possible opportunity to catch up in time.

Both O and A-Level exam classes took a break on December 17 when the very long second and final term for this year ended for all pupils 

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Mr Taungana Ndoro yesterday confirmed that schools will re-open on Monday and that the Covid-19 guidelines as set out by health authorities would be in place.

The guidelines include hand-washing, regular temperature checks, wearing of face masks and social distancing.

 He added the schools’ calendar for other non-examination classes would remain as previously announced unless changes are made.

“Other classes will return on previously announced dates unless new pronouncements are made,” he added.

The first term for 2022 is set to begin on January 10. Schools holidays were reduced by a week to make for time lost due to the lockdowns.

The country’s schools’ calendar has been disrupted by the Covid-19 induced lockdowns that have been instituted since the outbreak in 2020.

The lockdowns have reduced learning time for pupils with either a number of measures, including some classes alternating if there was no other option, to decongest classrooms and ensure observance of social distancing.

A number of outbreaks have been recorded at several schools and pupils still on the active list at boarding schools had to wait until the required isolation period was over before they could go home.

As part of efforts to reduce Covid-19 risk the medical authorities declared Sinopharm vaccine safe for children aged 16 and above, and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare then sent teams into most high schools to vaccinate pupils in the age groups, with a very high uptake rate.

Government has also come up with the e-learning strategy and radio lessons for pupils as part of measures to reduce human interaction in schools and a number of efforts are in place to give more pupils practical access to these lessons.

Government has also warned schools not to hike school fees without going through the proper procedures and encouraged them to have payment plans available if parents needed these so that no learners will be disturbed. 

At the same time the Government’s own BEAM programme has been dramatically expanded so that up to a third of pupils at public schools can have tuition fees and uniforms covered. – Herald