The 2022 public examinations will begin this month, with all exams set to be completed before year-end, for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19 more than two years ago.
Schools open for the third term tomorrow, amid high expectations of heightened return to normal learning on account of the subsiding global pandemic.
According to the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec), the number of candidates registered to sit for this year’s public examination has increased considerably as a result of dissipating effects of the pandemic.
While most public Covid-19 prevention protocols have been relaxed, the Government will this term continue to enforce schools’ Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) put in place to contain the contagion in learning institutions.
Grade Seven candidates will sit for their first examination on September 26 and finish on October 10.
Ordinary and Advanced Level candidates will kick off the exam season with practical tests on September 16 and finish on November 29.
Zimsec has also received most candidates’ submissions for the Continuous Learning Assessment Activities (CALA) components, with only one module remaining.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education director communications and advocacy Mr Taungana Ndoro said schools this term will focus on preparing pupils for examinations to help increase pass rates.
“There were fewer disruptions this year by the Covid-19 pandemic compared to the last two years, so we expect the examinations to be completed this year. The exams will not be spilling over to next year as what was happening over the past two years,” he said.
“So much focus will be on this year’s examination classes as well as next year’s examination classes so that we increase the pass rate.”
He said normalcy was slowly returning to schools after two years of disruptions.
“So we expect to slowly start returning to our normal school calendar. We will, however, continue with our online lessons which include radio lessons.”
He said pupils will continue to wear face masks indoors, while some high-risk sporting activities remain suspended.
“We are guided by the National Covid-19 Taskforce, therefore, masks will continue to be worn indoors at schools as well as enforcement of other Covid-19 protocols such as basic hygiene of sanitising, hand washing and avoiding overcrowding,” he added.
“In terms of sporting, at the moment we will continue to use the circular that was issued during the second term and we will be guided by the Covid-19 taskforce and Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.”
Zimsec Board chairperson Professor Eddie Mwenje said the number of pupils who registered for this year’s exams has increased compared to the last two years.
“We are still compiling the figures and they will be ready next week (this week),” he said.
“However, we expect the numbers to increase. For instance, there is an increase in the number of English Language candidates this year compared to last year,” he said.
“This indicates that Covid-19 had a negative impact on the education sector on communities and on teachers. This affected learning and examinations.”
National Association of School Heads (NASH) president Mr Arthur Maphosa said Government’s Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) programme was responsible for the increased enrolment.
He said there were limited disturbances caused by Covid-19 and job action by teachers this year. -Sunday Mail