Appreciate local schools — Dokora Dr Lazarus Dokora
Dr Lazarus Dokora

Dr Lazarus Dokora

Herald Reporter
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora has said the directive to enrol Form One pupils in one day is meant to encourage parents to appreciate their local schools by giving them first preference.

The minister said this during a press conference held in Harare on Tuesday.

Dr Dokora said the move was not meant to inconvenience parents, but to have them consider enrolling their children at local schools under circumstances where they would have failed to enrol their children at the school of their choice elsewhere.

“When we look at the secondary stream, there are two kinds of schools systems,” he said. We have the boarding and the day school.

“Ordinarily, our policy says, take your child to your nearest school.

“The boarding school ordinarily does not cater for all pupils and so it had given a lot of flak to the school heads that they are not doing their work correctly.”

Dr Dokora said the process of enrolling through entrance tests had also tarnished the ministry’s image, hence it prompted the decision to have enrolment conducted in a transparent manner.

“The bottom line is not that everyone will find a place in a boarding school, but it is an attempt to rationalise the process of getting a place in a transparent daylight fashion which leaves many school heads standing tall in their communities, he said.

Dr Dokora said the decision to have an enrolment date set was also meant to prevent having two parallel systems functioning: the school’s local system of entrance tests and the national system of observing Grade Seven results for enrolment.

He said the ministry came up with a resolution that all schools admit pupils on December 4, 2015 for 2016 Form One pupils.

Dr Dokora urged parents to change their perceptions about their local schools since any school can be transformed into a good school.

He discouraged parents from enrolling children in day schools far away from home, saying travelling long distances to school had negative effects on the pupils’ concentration levels in class.

Meanwhile, the call by Dr Dokora to add more subjects for Grade 7 examinations has been received with condemnation by stakeholders.

Leaders from teachers’ unions yesterday dismissed Dr Dokora’s calls, arguing that Government did not have enough funding for such an initiative.

Renowned educationist, Professor Caiphas Nziramasanga reiterated his calls for the scrapping of national examinations.

Prof Nziramasanga led a 1998-9 Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training that advocated for a raft of education reforms.

He said school based examinations were more informative and true reflection on the child’s development. “This is called continuous assessment and to me that should be much more important than the final examination because the content is carefully done by the teachers who know how a student is performing on a weekly, monthly and term basis,” he said.

“I personally think that national Grade 7 examinations may not be necessary now because of the nature of assessment we have.”

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe said Government had to consult stakeholders first before introducing more subjects at Grade 7.

“If more subjects are going to be added for Grade 7 examinations it means the examination fee will also increase as well as the workload for teachers,” he said. Who is going to fund zimsec to pay more markers?

Teachers Union of Zimbabwe chief executive, Mr Manuel Nyawo said Dr Dokora’s call was impossible since it led to information overload for pupils.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Mr Richard Gundane said Government should make sure that there was adequate funding for such a programme.

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