In a move roundly criticised in various quarters as a nude joke, the country’s public examinations regulatory body, Zimsec, yesterday set the 30th of June as the commencement date of the 2020 June national exams.
On Tuesday, Zimsec chairperson Eddie Mwenje told journalists in Harare that Ordinary Level examinations will start on the 30th of June, ending on July 20 while the 2020 June Advanced Level examinations which also commence on June 30, will run until July 23.
He said the current Covid19 regulations will be religiously observed during the examination period while emphasising the urge to foster the concept of social distancing during the period.
“More stand-alone centres will be created to minimise movement and contact between administrators from different centres. Examination centres are to observe the minimum one metre distance between candidates’ desk.”
But teachers have dismissed the exam body’s pronunciations and concurrent unveiling of the examinations timetable as a joke, arguing that the country is not yet prepared to open schools, citing health safety concerns.
They also said the set examination dates were not going to see the light of the day.
“This joke from ZIMSEC should just be ignored. They want to tick boxes as usual. Learners, teachers and our schools are not teady for these exams,” said the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’Association in comments posted on their Twitter handle.
“The examinations are not going to be written on those dates.”
But, when one user warned the teachers’ group against misleading and confusing candidates by advising them to ‘ignore’ the set exam dates, the group said they were going to pursue legal ways to overturn the move.
“ZIMSEC is just a body conducting public examinations. The public will make the final decision on when the exams will be written. Exams will only be written when schools, learners and teachers are ready,” the teachers declared.
“Public entities serve at the behest of the public in the best interest of the people. We cant allow ZIMSEC to commit a genocide because we gave them a mandate to set dates. Teachers and learners will only go back to school when safety measures have been put in place.”
Recently, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) said schools were not yet ready to reopen for the second term of the schooling calender or holding the 2020 public examinations.
“Scheduling examinations is not a panacea to Covid-19. This is a pandemic that has claimed many lives in the world and continues to do so. A declaration means nothing if the necessary health protocols recommended by the World Health Organisation are not followed,” Zimta CEO Sifiso Ndlovu said.
As a mitigatory measure against Covid19, Zimbabwe has been on lockdown since March 30. The lockdown has since been revised to a debatably relaxed indefinite Level 2, pending two week reviews.
However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is yet to advise the country on the way forward, roughly eighteen days after announcing the new Covid19 measures.
During the time of publishing on Wednesday, the cumulative figure of Covid19 cases stood at 206, with four mortalities and 29 recoveries.