Schools start online Form 1 selection today . . . as entrance tests remain banned
Blessings Chidakwa-Herald Reporter
GRADE Seven results will be uploaded on the e-map system today with headmasters expected to start selecting learners for Form 1 places, Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Mr Moses Mhike has said.
Traditionally, boarding schools administered their own entrance tests to select Form 1 learners, a move which received a backlash from parents over its costs as they criss-crossed the country in search of places each year.
Government has since directed that only Grade Seven results should be used where a test is required for selecting pupils into Form 1.
Speaking during the release of Grade Seven results at the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) head offices in Harare on Friday, Mr Mhike said the online platform e-map is fully functional and will be used for selection of learners.
“On the places availability for Form Ones, we had a circular we issued out which is very clear that all boarding schools are going to be getting the placement through e-map.
“The results have already been announced and Zimsec has assured us that on Monday they will be available on our e-map so that heads can then start doing the selections.”
“We hope the parents have also played their part in terms of selecting the schools,” he said.
Mr Mhike said the ministry also issued a statement regarding a potential shortage of boarding places as there are around 25 000 available yet almost 400 000 pupils sat for Grade Seven examinations.
“So, it means as a ministry we have got a long way to go in terms of infrastructure development especially in our boarding schools. Generally, the majority of parents are now preferring their kids to be in boarding schools, but currently as a nation it is something that we need to be able to look at and also avail those choices to our parents,” he said.
Mr Mhike took the opportunity to stress that the Grade Seven results were the only tests for high school entrance and private tests were illegal.
“The correct position for the entrance test is that they are not legal, they are actually illegal,” he said.
As for next year’s fees, Mr Mhike said any increase should be authorised by the Government after approval by a majority of parents.
“Every increase of fees must be approved by the ministry; the approving committee goes through every request put by all schools.
“We look at affordability from parents mainly focusing on civil servants pay cheques and we act without compromising the education system in terms of its quality,” he said.
Zimsec Grade Seven results released last Friday have a 45,5 pass rate, significantly up from 40,7 last year, with girls on average doing better than boys with a 49,56 percent pass rate compared to 41,21.
The examination board attributed the increased pass rate to the resumption of normal classes after the Covid-19 era, along with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s continuing improvements, ensuring more pupils received better teaching.