Leroy Dzenga Herald Reporter
Candidates registered for ZIMSEC June Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations will write as scheduled, a schools reopening roadmap tabled by Government in Parliament has shown.
The examinations will run from June 29 to July 22 this year.
Addressing the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Mrs Thumisang Thabela said the June examination would not be forfeited.
“After the minister has presented our suggested roll-out plan to Cabinet and it is accepted that is the only time we will advise on the date of opening.
“As for the June exams, we are starting on June 29 up to July 29,” Mrs Thabela said.
Parliament heard that postponing the June examination to a further date, presented a logistical nightmare.
“The June examination is still a priority to us as a ministry. This June examination is the last examination using the old curriculum.
“If we do not give these children who want to sit for the examination a chance, it means we are disabling them in terms of a future because they will have to write a new curriculum or syllabus,” Mrs Thabela said.
The current registered group for the June examinations is reportedly the largest in history.
Government has drawn up an opening plan, which will see schools reopen in phases.
“We are still consulting our constituents. Taking from the feedback we have received we have suggested how we will be reopening. We need to agree on dates with teachers and our minister will take the plan to cabinet for approval,” Mrs Thabela said.
Examination classes will be the first group to go to school.
“Phase one, we are looking at examination classes — these are Form Fours, Form Sixes and Grade Sevens. We need a minimum of four weeks to train teachers, to train the whole system, to procure protective clothing and all other things we may need,” she said.
The gradual rollout will see an eased increase in school numbers.
“Phase two, which will follow after three weeks will be for classes writing next year. All classes will be split into two to allow social distancing, so we do not know how many teachers we will have left. This is why we will need another three weeks before getting to the next level,” said Mrs Thabela.
She added: “Phase three is when the rest of high school learners will go to school and in primary, Grades Three, Four and Five will return to schools. We are hoping our winter would have shown us clearly how the school is reacting to the cold weather.”
Lower primary school classes are expected to return towards the end of winter, which health scientists say have an increased infection potential.
“As we get to phase four, classrooms will be used up due to social distancing. In this phase, Grade One and Two learners will return to class.
We will now be using tents and mobile classrooms to accommodate learners, this takes a lot of logistics. This is why their return will have to be two weeks after phase three,” Mrs Thabela said.
Last to return will be tots in early childhood development class.
“By this point we are hoping winter will be over and our ECD classes can return to school,” said Mrs Thabela.
Asked on how the reopening will work when other schools like Prince Edward and Girls High School are being used as quarantine centres, the ministry said learners would have to make a compromise.
“Supposing the implementation of the plan happens when we still have to use schools as quarantine centres, learners from those schools will have to do exile learning.
They will temporarily use facilities from other schools. They will move with their teachers to ensure familiarity is maintained,” she said.
Gradually, the world is learning to live with Covid-19 and as it seeks to fully reopen, how countries will handle their schools’ reopening will be on the spotlight.