COVID-19 lockdown: June examinations in shambles

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  • Some centres failed to submit June examinations required entry data and proofs of payment
  • Other candidates who planned to sit for June examinations wrongfully paid directly to Zimsec instead of directing payments to their local examination centres

THE 21-day national lockdown imposed by government to curb the spread of COVID-19 has adversely affected examination candidates for the year 2020, with some failing to register for the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) June examinations due to various hurdles.

While the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examinations between May and June have been cancelled, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry has stated that Zimsec June and November examinations would proceed as timetabled.

According to a Zimsec statement, some centres failed to submit the required entry data and proofs of payment to the local examinations body for various reasons, including non-access to the internet and online banking.

At the same time, some candidates who preferred to sit for the June examinations wrongfully paid directly to Zimsec instead of directing payments to their local examination centres.

Zimsec had set up an electronic platform for the submission of candidates’ entry data and proof of payment for the two sittings as a way to stay on course in the face of the 21-day national lockdown set by government to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

On candidates who paid directly to Zimsec, the examinations body said affected candidates should contact their respective centres and Zimsec to regularise their registration.

“Candidates who failed to register for the June examinations will be accommodated in the November 2020 registration. This means there is no late registration for the June 2020 examinations session,” Zimsec said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to Zimsec, the late registration facility would only be for the November 2020 candidates.

The examinations council added that no late registration fees would be charged to candidates and centres.

Turning to the online platforms that were provided for centres to submit registration data and proof of payment, Zimsec said centres that experienced difficulties reached Zimsec’s help desk and were successfully assisted.

This online platform was provided for heads of centres to submit registration data and proofs of payments. Individual candidates should not use this platform,” Zimsec said.

“Zimsec, like any other institution, is not privy to what will happen after the 21 days of lockdown but would like its valued stakeholders to know that a window for the registration of candidates for the November 2020 examinations will be provided when the lockdown is lifted.”

“This provision is in accordance with the Honourable Minister of Primary and Secondary Education’s announcement that all potential candidates will access the 2020 examinations,” Zimsec added.

Zimsec encouraged school heads and heads of examination centres to use only the Zimsec on-line platforms to upload their entry data and proofs of payment.

“This facility is free of charge, and there are no external parties who have been engaged by Zimsec to assist in these processes,” Zimsec concluded.

Some teachers failed to travel to administer the registration process because of the 21-day lockdown say Zimta

Several teachers’ unions, among them the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta), have proposed the postponement of the June and November 2020 examinations owing to the failure by teachers to travel to their nearest centres to administer the registration process because of the 21-day lockdown.

The Primary and Secondary Education ministry has, however, maintained that there would be no change to the timetable, suggesting that failure to set deadlines would jeopardise all examination processes.

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