Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter
The health and education ministries are collaborating to ensure adequate measures, informed by World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, are put in place to ensure public examinations are held safely without risking a spike in Covid-19 infections.
The two relevant ministries are also collaborating on the vaccination of schoolchildren aged 16 and above, which has helped see an improvement in the uptake of Covid-19 vaccines.
For the first time this year the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec) will also include the continuous assessment marks into the final results as a way of safeguarding expanded access to learning.
Speaking after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the same collaboration between the education and health sectors, which resulted in safe and successful 2020 schools’ examination processes, was expected to deliver the desired outcome.
The Government last year and early this year managed to hold public examinations in a safer environment without risking a spike in Covid-19 infections in schools despite the rising numbers in communities as the second wave engulfed the country.
Minister Mutsvangwa also gave an update on the inclusion of continuous assessment results, part of the process of configuration of the education system towards the attainment of an upper middle income society by 2030.
This year will be the first that Zimsec incorporates continuous assessment of learning area (CALA) marks into the final result for the Grade 7, O and A-Level examinations.
“In order to ensure that the continuous assessments were done in compliance with Covid-19 regulations and to also ensure that the credibility of the Zimsec examination system remains intact, senior management was all out in full force moderating and ensuring that completion of continuous assessment of learning area activities is done by the end of November.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said the national vaccination programme to date has seen more than 3.6 million getting their first doses while more than 2.7 million people have been fully vaccinated.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care was collaborating with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on the vaccination blitz of over pupils aged 16 and over,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“Cabinet wishes to report that the inclusion of this age group has increased the target population. The latest estimates being used by the Health Ministry show 9 387 785 Zimbabweans aged 16 and over and the target for vaccination is everyone in that age group. The latest figures show 39,2 percent of that age group, everyone except children under 16, have received at least one jab and 29,3 percent have received both.
“It is pleasing to note that in actual numbers, the cumulative number of vaccines administered during the reporting week increased compared to last week,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She also gave an update of the World Children’s Day Commemorations and UNICEF’s 75th anniversary celebrations held at Kazungula Bridge in Kasane over the weekend that was attended by President Mnangagwa.
“His Excellency the President, Cde ED Mnangagwa implored children to be disciplined, hardworking, respectful and also abstain from drugs and wayward behaviour if they are to be competitive in a globalised world.
“The President highlighted that the Second Republic had introduced several interventions that have improved the lives of children, including among others the Women’s Bank, a Youth Empowerment Bank, and a desk for youth at every ministry,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“Government notes that this event was historical in that this is the first time ever that four Heads of State have come together to simultaneously engage the youth on their concerns.”