BY Patricia sibanda

THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education last week proposed that children without proper documentation should be allowed to sit for public examinations.

The proposal was made by Bulawayo acting provincial education director Olicah Fikelephi Kaira at the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) public hearing on access to national documents in the city.

Kaira said both birth certificates and national identity cards were essential documents required from all pupils before they register for examinations.

“Birth certificates are a pre-requisite document by the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) when candidates register for any national exam, be it Grade 7, O Level and A Level… Most of all at O and A, national identity cards are required upon registration for examinations,” Kaira said.

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She also said statistics showed that out of 54 479 pupils enrolled in secondary schools, 961 do not have either national ID or birth certificates and in primary schools out of the 133 143 enrolled 12 808 pupils did not have birth certificates.

Kaira said it was the children’s right to have both access to proper citizenship documentation and their right to education, hence they should be allowed to sit for public examinations.

“Yes, I think these children should be allowed to write examinations even if they have no documents, because it is their summative way of evaluating their school work and a way of shaping their future,” she noted.

Kaira revealed that the Primary and Secondary Education ministry had requested the Registrar-General’s office to decentralise registration offices so that they are easily accessible.
She added that they were advocating for easy access to documentation, particularly for orphaned children.

Commissioner Japhet Ndabeni Ncube also raised concern that children were failing to continue with their education because of lack of documentation.