Abigail Mawonde Herald Reporter
Government has come up with an electronic application system for Form One boarding places for 2017 as part of a raft of measures to fight corruption that for a long time has seen many intelligent children from poor backgrounds being sidelined by some schools.
The ministerial online application system has been dubbed electronic Ministry Application Platform (eMAP) and is expected to become operational soon.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora revealed this during a press conference in Harare yesterday.
“As to the transition into Form One, the following realities should be noted; that firstly, the enrolment process shall be undertaken as previously guided over one day. Secondly, there are 329 549 pupils in the Grade Seven class of 2016. Thirdly, all these candidates should obtain a clearance letter from their last Grade Seven schools,” said Dr Dokora.
“And, fourthly, local secondary schools are well-positioned to absorb all learners in their catchment area (zone).
“For those requiring boarding places, please note that there are only 24 000 boarding places. No parent or guardian should have unrealistic expectations for the placement of their dependent child into boarding school,” he said.
“It is for this reason that all prospective boarding learners with a clearance letter from their last school will use the eMAP application system.”
Dr Dokora said the application date for parents seeking boarding places for their children had been set for December 16, 2016.
He said parents would be required to complete an electronic form specifying three schools of their choice.
The form would then be forwarded to the relevant schools and parents would get feedback via an SMS on the outcome of their application by December 19.
Enrolment for both boarding and day-school places was set for December 20.
The electronic application system is expected to bring efficiency and transparency to the admission process.
Dr Dokora expressed gratitude to all stakeholders involved in the Grade Seven examinations processes.
“The Ministry would like to thank the teachers, school heads and the examination security. We would like to acknowledge the role played by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, especially the CID dedicated team.
“We also want to extend our thanks to the cluster focal centres for being anchor points for quality assurance in the security and distribution of examinations. The role of these cluster points will continue to be enhanced as both the Ministry and ZIMSEC (Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council) collaborate to confirm security arrangements at each school on an annual basis beginning 2017,” he said.
The Minister urged responsible authorities, School Development Committees and school heads to cooperate in the exercise to ensure the integrity of the country’s examination system.
Meanwhile, The Herald last night was inundated with calls from parents complaining that Zimsec had withheld Grade 7 results for some pupils across the country.
The Ministry admitted there were challenges.
“When results were released on Thursday the e-platform was not yet ready for use. Unfortunately, there was communication breakdown as some results were released yesterday (Thursday), others were not,” said the Ministry spokesperson Mr Patrick Zumbo.
He referred The Herald to Zimsec for further clarification.
Efforts to get Zimsec were fruitless by the time of going to print.