Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Government has hiked Ordinary Level examination fees with immediate effect from $13 to $15 per subject. In a move likely to bring reprieve to parents and guardians, Government also approved that candidates in both examination and non-examination classes be allowed to do part payment of their fees.
Government has, however, not adjusted examination fees for all Advanced Level subjects that have remained at $26 per subject.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora, said Cabinet’s decision, which came after ‘a thorough process of consideration,’ would enable the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) to put in place a watertight examination security system.
Government last set examination fees in 2013 and there was a two year moratorium.
Practical subjects and oral subjects fees have also been increased to $15 from $13.
“This Cabinet decision on the examination fees always comes after a thorough process of consideration. I am happy to state that it was a necessary process, which led to a decision with a balance on affordability and the need to secure system credibility.
“At Ordinary Level, there is a modest rise in examination fees. This upward review of Ordinary Level examination fees comes on the back of two years of a moratorium when the fees remained pegged at $13 per subject. The years concerned were 2013 and 2014,” he said.
Minister Dokora said Government policy had been always to make education accessible to all and it was in that regard that Cabinet approved the principle of allowing candidates from both examination and non-examination classes to do part payment towards their examination fees. He said this would be done at specified rates per subject, while spreading payments until they were fully paid up by the beginning of the second term of every examination year.
Minister Dokora said that Cabinet also approved a contribution by parents towards the cost of Grade Seven examinations and modalities were being worked out on how this could be achieved.
“While examination costs are unavoidable, the desire is that Zimsec maintains (fees) within manageable limits so that the disadvantaged of our society are not unduly penalised. Our system of education is one of the best in the world.
“Our qualifications are internationally recognised and Zimbabweans enrol at institutions of higher learning with the greatest ease. Unfortunately, the excellence of our system has attracted the attention of criminals who seek to reap where they did not sow,” he said.
Dr Dokora said many have sought to fraudulently obtain the O-Level Certificate and people were prepared to pay huge amounts to obtain knowledge of the content of question papers and unduly increase their chances of passing.
He said school heads, particularly the acting ones have leaked question papers to prospective candidates or in some way given them undue assistance.
“While the law enforcement agencies have their role, it is incumbent on Zimsec to put in place a watertight examination security system. To do this, they (Zimsec) need to be adequately resourced. It is in this context that Cabinet has allowed a modest increase in fees at O-Level to help cushion them on costs of achieving a tamper-proof examination delivery monitoring system,” Dr Dokora said.