COVID-19 lockdown: ZOU students slam authorities for exams at quarantine centre

ZIMBABWE OPEN UNIVERSITY students have registered disgruntlement over authorities decision to go ahead with exams at a COVID -19 quarantine centre, Zim Morning Post has heard.

Zim Morning Post understands that the government institution plans to go ahead with exams for all intakes in mid-June.

The open distance learning university which uses Belvedere Technical Teachers College as an exam center for their Harare campus had moved their exams to mid-June from May due to Level 5 lockdown regulations.

Though the country has moved the Lockdown to Level 2, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education , Science and Technological Development Amon Murwira is on record saying that universities must prioritise final year students only as a migratory measure to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Students at the institution have expressed concern over their safety as well as the logistical problems in the wake of the Level 2 restrictions.

The venue, Belvedere Technical Teachers College is currently operating as a quarantine center making it a risky for students to write exams at the center.

Students have also expressed concern over transport logistics given that only ZUPCO buses and franchised kombies are allowed to operate.

‘’ I am worried that the exam venue is not safe for all students, it’s a quarantine center and the university does not have the capacity to protect a huge number of students that normally take exams every end of semester”

“We are also supposed to be at the exam center by 8 am and given the ineffectiveness of the ZUPCO buses, we wonder how we can manage that” said a student who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A student based in South Africa expressed concern over the future of her studies given her not being able to travel due to the lockdown regulations.

“There are a lot of students that are based in foreign countries and we travel for exams every semester, we are stranded due to the lockdown and I’m not sure how I will be able to travel due to the lockdown regulations, I might be forced to drop out because I do not see any other way I will be able to complete these studies”

Other students called on the authorities to defer the exams to August since there will be ample time to commence the follow up semesters.

‘’ There is no detrimental impact if students do not write examinations now considering second semester doesn’t fully start until September, rushing students to write exams will not only expose them to Covid 19 but their families too” said another student who preferred anonymity.

Students at the University have also expressed concern over the institutions failure to update them on the university position with some blaming the Students Representative Union for ignoring the apparent risk of Covid 19. 

The university has not been able to provide students with tutorials and online materials this semester, a situation the students are not happy about.

The Zimbabwe Open University students across the country with some that are in remote areas and need to travel to exams centers regularly.While the country is seized with the recent spike in Covid 19 cases and battling to control and enforce the Level 2 regulations, the powers at the Zimbabwe Open University seem to have other plans.

Efforts to get in touch with authorities proved fruitless at the time of writing.