Teacher unions have called on government to scrap the writing of final year examinations for non-final year students arguing this was not necessary in the current situation.

Zimbabwe’s education ministry has directed schools to ensure all learners write final year examinations even though there was not much of learning this year.

Schools only re-opened under a phased approach in September after months of closure with the last batch of students returning to class in November.

Online learning also proved to be a failure owing to the digital divide and lack of ICT gadgets as well as lack of telecommunications connectivity in some areas.

A prolonged strike by teachers demanding better pay and Covid-19 protective clothing after schools reopened also worsened the situation as learners missed out on lessons.

However, the ministry insists final year examinations should be held.

Yes, it’s true (directive to have final year examinations) for assessment purposes,” Taungana Ndoro, the director of communication in the Primary and Secondary Education ministry said in a response sent via WhatsApp.

However, teacher unions said the examinations were unnecessary.

It is very unfortunate to see value in evaluating learners that did not learn anything this year,” Obert Masaraure, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president said weekend.

It’s a waste of time. We have always insisted on a transitional plan for learners as they proceed to the next level to cover those months when they were not in class.

It is a kind of dual learning system where one, for example, will be in Form 2 next year but also learning what they should have learnt in Form 1.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general Raymond Majongwe argued the ministry should instead, ensure schools are closed early amid fresh Covid-19 cases being reported.

We are saying that those exams should be suspended till next year. It doesn’t make any sense to be seen as grandstanding, yet we all know Covid-19 cases in schools are rising,” Majongwe said on Saturday in an interview.

Credit: New Zimbabwe

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