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Teacher unions welcome decision to suspend June exams

Dr Takavafira Zhou

Believe Mpofu

Teachers’
unions under the Federation of Zimbabwe Education Unions (Fozeu)
welcomed the government’s decision to suspend the Zimbabwe School Examination Council
(Zimsec) June ‘O’ and ‘A’ level examinations.

Government
recently announced the suspension of the June exams citing the multi-layered
disruptions caused by Covid-19 including delays in writing and marking of the
November exams which negatively impacted the timing and the cycle of public
examination.

Fozeu
says pupils have not covered syllabus because of the Covid-19 induced lockdown
and teachers’ incapacitation.

The
organisation says merely pushing forward with writing of June exams was futile
as pupils ‘cannot perform miracles’ in the exam room.

In
an interview with TellZim News, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
president Dr Takavafira Zhou said though parents were generally not receptive
of the idea, it was the best thing that could be done under the circumstances.

“Parents’
complaints are understandable. They have spent a lot of money hiring private
teachers to teach their children and have therefore lost money in the process. The
communication must have been made in January.

He
blamed government for failure to communicate the new position earlier thereby
giving the false impression that June exams would continue as usual.

“Cancellation
of June exams was a blessing in disguise, pupils did not cover the syllabus
because of Covid-19, and pupils cannot perform miracles in examination room. It
was a good move, despite the inconvenience it has caused to parents and the
psychological pressure it had forced upon pupils trying to prepare for the
examination.

“It
was a good move, despite the inconvenience it has caused to parents and the
psychological pressure it had forced upon pupils trying to prepare for the
examination.

“If
June exams had been allowed to continue, it would disturb preparations for
November exams as schools would be used for exam purposes, and teachers for invigilation
and marking,” said Zhou.

On
his part, Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert
Masaraure told TellZim News that it would not have made sense to impose exams
on unprepared pupils.

 “Imposing examination on unprepared learners
was going to be a disaster. The down time caused by both incapacitation and
Covid-19 induced lockdowns is not good for our education sector,” said
Masaraure.

Chief
Executive Officer (CEO) of Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) Dr Sifiso
Ndlovu said the cancellation was a hard decision but it was inevitable.

“Cancellation
of June exams was a hard decision but it was inevitable. It would be a waste of
resources to assemble huge funds to run the examination which evidently would
be a sham exercise. The government’s decision was a good move,” said Ndlovu.

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