The much-criticised decision by Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora to have 2016 Form 1 pupils enrolled in one day last Friday left a lot stranded as some failed to get places.
Schools like Goromonzi High School, for instance, attracted more than 600 prospective students on the day when only 100 places were available.
The chaos caused by the unplanned directive meant that the ministry had to backtrack and allow the enrolment to continue until all pupils get places.
Stakeholders had warned that the decision was going to overwhelm schools and burden parents who would have to rush to other schools in the same day in the event that they failed to get a place at their first preference.
On November 27, Minister Dokora issued a Press statement titled: “Guidelines on Enrolment into Form 1:2016” in which he said the enrolment date for next year was Friday December 4, 2015.
He said parents had made representations that they were being subjected to unnecessary financial burden through the payment of non-refundable entrance test fees or travelling from school to school.
“In response to these representations, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education produced the Secretary’s Circular Minute Number 13 of 2015 which provides guidelines on enrolment into Form 1,” said Minister Dokora in the statement.
“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.
“The 2016 Form 1 enrolment shall be Friday December 4, 2015.”
Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Professor Paul Mavhima said yesterday that pupils who failed to secure places on Friday will naturally be enrolled at schools that were not overwhelmed by prospective students.
“We expected that it (Form 1 enrolment) would not happen in one day,” he said.
“Obviously, the best schools attracted many pupils. And so, naturally there is going to be a process of rationalisation where schools that are not full are going to absorb those who would have failed to get places from the schools of their choice.
“As we get towards the end of the week, we hope every pupil would have secured a place somewhere.”
A survey by The Herald in Harare’s secondary and high schools on Friday indicated that the city’s best schools had overwhelming numbers of parents and pupils queuing for enrolment.
In most instances, a large number of pupils were turned away as the enrolment figures for the schools had been reached.