Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) June examinations will commence today as scheduled in adherence to Covid-19 prevention measures.
Schools have been closed since March 24 as Government moved to prevent the spread of the global pandemic.
Some schools have been producing personal protective equipment (PPEs) during the period.
O-Level candidates will sit for English Language Paper 1 in the morning and Combined Science Paper 1 in the afternoon while A-Level pupils will write Literature in English Paper 1 and Chemistry Paper 1.
The examinations start as schools prepare for staggered re-opening next month.
A Chronicle news crew yesterday visited Founders High School in Bulawayo to assess the school’s preparedness for holding the public examinations. The news crew observed that the school was highly prepared and was implementing Covid-19 prevention measures.
The headmistress, Ms Dorothea Moyo, took the news crew through some of the measures the school had implemented.
As one enters the school, they are expected to wash their hands, have their temperature taken, made to write down their personal details including home address and cellphone numbers.
The security guard demands national IDs while recording information stated above.
Ms Moyo revealed that those entering the school are expected to wear face masks and sanitise their hands to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Candidates will be required to head straight to the examination room which will be disinfected before and after every examination.
Candidates are discouraged from bringing items that are not required for examinations, like cellphones and bags.
Invigilating teachers will be picked using a school bus and they also underwent Covid-19 prevention training under the tutelage of Bulawayo’s city health department.
The school has set up a holding room for those who would have been found to have a high temperature.
The news crew observed some candidates collecting their statements of entry at the school office.
Zimsec spokesperson Ms Nicky Dlamini said 821 centres will be used during the June public examination.
She said schools being used to quarantine people, like Mabhikwa High School and Mosi-oa-Tunya High School in Matabeleland North, will not be used as examination centres and alternative centres had been identified for pupils.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema said June examinations were going ahead as the ministry has adhered to Covid-19 prevention measures.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education would like to advise parents/guardians, learners and the public that the Zimsec June 2012 Examinations are set to commence as scheduled on Tuesday, the 30th of June 2020. The examination timetable, as announced by Zimsec, will be adhered to,” said Minister Mathema.
“The Ministry would like to assure the nation that necessary measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of candidates and invigilators during the course of the examinations.
To this end, thermometers, disinfectants, face masks, wash facilities and hand sanitisers have been procured for all examination centres. Examination centres have also been disinfected in line with Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) guidelines.”
He expressed gratitude to President Mnangagwa, First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa and the Vice President Kembo Mohadi-led inter-ministerial taskforce for the support in preparing for public examinations in line with World Health Organisation guidelines.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Dr Sifiso Ndlovu, said the Ministry had moved to provide adequate Covid-19 prevention measures following a Court Order.
Dr Ndlovu said despite the last-minute efforts to put the house in order, he believes the examination process will be chaotic.
“There was a court order that compelled the ministry to ensure that there were enough PPEs to protect invigilators and candidates by June 26. That is why we saw Government last week frantically trying to get the centres ready. But logistically there were a lot of things that were not done right,” said Dr Ndlovu.
“By today at 1pm I know that some invigilators who were going as far as Siyamagoza Secondary School in Lupane had not left.
“They were told that a Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) bus will pick them up but they were stuck at Renkini and did not have the foreign currency needed to take them to the schools. I foresee some delays in some of the examinations as invigilators will not reach centres on time.”
He said some of the invigilators have not received training on how to conduct themselves during the examinations as nurses were on strike. — @nqotshili.