The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council has had an eventful year stimulated by changes in the Curriculum, suggested new syllabi as well as the calibre of the candidate themselves. Today we would like to take a quick look back at the year of 2015 and see the highs and the lows, failures and achievements of the Examiner. In a very recent publication the issue of the grades was raised by a notably incensed writer. In the article the writer alleged that the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Honourable L D K Dokora has, and we quote, ‘‘totally annihilated Zimbabwe’s education standards’’ by lowering the grades of the Grade 7, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level examinations, therefore the ‘‘Zimsec pass rates that have been recorded of late are fake’’.
Since the inception of ZIMSEC in 1996, to date, there has never been a Minister of Primary and Secondary Education or as they were previously known, Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, who has ever had the ability (or attempted) to dictate the grades or contribute to the grading of examinations which are the sole mandate of the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council.
The Council has an Examinations Committee which is chaired by a Vice Chancellor of a State University, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Zimsec Board.
The committee sets the standards and considers the quality of our examinations, after which recommendations are made to the main board and discussed before being adopted.
The issue of grading is part of their mandate and remains as such. The Council’s mission is to provide “The quality assessment of candidates’ learning/performance and awarding of nationally and internationally recognised certificates at different levels of the school education system, while optimally utilising the Human and Material resources available to it.”
We take this responsibility very seriously as we understand that the future of the nation’s workforce depends on the correct and honest assessment of the education system and the products thereof.
This letter and its contents represent as serious level of professional ignorance and irresponsibility with regards to the National Examinations in Zimbabwe.
Grade seven results for the 2015 year were released on time and according to the statistics there was in fact a rise in the pass rate from 2014. The candidature also increased, much to the surprise of many cynics who foresaw a drop in the candidature when examination fees were introduced to Grade 7 candidates.
The examination fees which are paid $1 per term from Grade 6 to the end of grade 7, this year have enabled ZIMSEC to successfully honour its contractual obligations to the Examiners, promptly and in one instalment. The council aims to do the same for the Ordinary and Advanced Level Examiners.
E-marking was a highlight in the year 2015, with more subjects being added onto the e marking platform.
Not only that, but Zimsec is now running the electronic marking independent of the service provider who would usually come to provide support during the marking period.
E-marker 2 is in the pipeline, consultations have been made and we look forward to it being brought inn in the not so distant future. The Zimsec director’s vision is ‘‘to create an ICT driven organisation’’ and in that light many technological advancements in administration, setting and assessment are being developed and adopted. A few include;
The Grade 7 Candidate Registration System was deployed early 2014 effectively putting all examination levels on electronic registration.
Development work for script tracking was completed and preliminary tests were carried out to check its effectiveness. The system is ready for implementation once hardware is sourced.
www.zimsec.co.zw or whatsapp 0772148786, Facebook: Zimbabwe School Examinations Council –ZIMSEC Public Relations