Bornwise Mtonzi Cool Lifestyle Writer
The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Lazarus Dokora last week slammed the parents for paying Form One entrance examination fees saying they did that at their own peril as the Government has set an enrolment date for all the schools in the country.

This comes after an outcry by parents over the cost of entrance tests that has seen parents paying at a number of schools before finally getting a place.

He said the entrance exams were banned long back by his ministry and have remained illegal and should not be left to continue.

Enrolment of Form One students for next year started yesterday with parents expected to use their children’s Grade Seven results.

The announcement of the enrolment date by the ministry has however caused panic and confusion among some other parents who had already paid for their children’s entrance fees who said they no longer know whether they had to go again for the enrolment or use the ones they had acquired.

The statement was received held by most students, though with different sentiments, as parents were being robbed of their hard-earned cash by the schools offering these tests.

In an interview with CLS, some students said it is high time the Government take serious action over this matter as education is life.

“For me Grade Seven exams are good enough, once one has passed the exam it’s a waste of resources to engage in other exams of the same nature, if they continue with then there is no need for sitting for Grade Seven exams,” said Thelma Mudzondotewa from Oxford High School

15-year-old Josphene Mapani from Girls High School echoed the same sentiments stating that Grade Seven results are enough for one to acquire a place for form one.

She said there is no need for entrance tests.

“Due to this there should be no more entrance test as parents must use their children’s Grade Seven results to look for Form One places for their children in schools of their choice. However, on the enrolment dates parents and their children will be crowded scrambling for these places and those with more units will spend the whole day moving from one school to another,” she said.

However some students where of the sentiment that having an entrance test is a clear analysis to measure your IQ.

“You might have easily done exam questions and answers but with entrance test you can separate the book worm and the student with high IQ.

“They should write entrance tests because it somehow shows how smart a student is. Schools should be allowed to assess their prospective students using a criterion which is relevant to what the school offers,” said Tadiwanashe Madzivire from Christ Ministries.

As these exams were declared illegal the minister said people must learn to follow orders as the law states it clearly on the issue of these entrance exams and any parent who paid was doing an illegal thing hence no need to complain.

With the outcry from the parents the ministry noted that school authorities were fleecing parents by inviting hundreds of pupils for entrance tests yet they had few places.

There is no good reason why more 500 students are invited to sit for an entrance exam that costs $20 per head when the school is only looking for 100 students, this shows how parents are being fleeced of their hard-earned cash.

Minister Dokora stated that the practice of entrance tests and non-refundable fees was “discriminatory”, adding that in response, Government had issued a circular as part of comprehensive corrective measures. In a statement the minister noted that, “This practice is discriminatory and violates the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 20 of 2013 Section 563) and the Education Act Sections (4) 1) and 4) (2) (b). “In response to these representations, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education produced the Secretary’s Circular Minute Number 13 of 2015, which provided guidelines on enrolment into Form One. Dr Dokora said enrolment of learners into Form 1 shall be based on Grade 7 results and shall be conducted on a specific date each year across the country.”

He added that with the Grade Seven results the parents and pupils were advised to identify and approach a school of their choice for Form One on the enrolment date.

However, this has been received with mixed feelings by parents with others fearing that there would be congestion in schools and children whose passes were not good would be sidelined.

To completely deal with this issue the Heads of secondary schools were informed to advise their District Education Officers within two days of the enrolment date of any shortfalls in Form One enrolment to facilitate advice to parents and pupils accordingly.

Minister Dokora in a statement said all Provincial Education Directors, District Education Officers, Heads of Secondary schools, Responsible Authorities, Church Education Secretaries, Teachers Associations and Trust Schools must respect the letter and spirit of these guidelines.

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