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Govt mulls new Zimsec exams model

by Staff reporter
31 Mar 2021 at 06:34hrs | Views
THE Primary and Secondary Education ministry will introduce a new examination model, which will include student continuous assessments marks and final examination marks.

The new model, to be implemented by the ministry in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec), will only apply to examination classes which include Grade 7, Form 4 and Upper Sixth.

The framework will assess the pupils' different abilities including knowledge, skills, abilities, values and other achievements in class, which will be incorporated into the final examination marks.

It will also take into cognisance pupils' talents, and consider factors such as gender, disability, socio-economic status, use of information communication technology (ICT), and the Ubuntu/Unhu philosophy.

Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said a new framework was being considered.

"Continuous assessment is ongoing," Ndoro told NewsDay.

Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema explained the new examination framework on State radio.

"We are moving from the past framework, where learners were awarded pass or fail grades at the end of the year. We acknowledge that some learners may not be good in particular subjects, but are good in others. The new framework will ensure that learners are awarded with the marks that they deserve," he said.

Teachers' unions said the proposed examination framework would be difficult to implement in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially at a time when new waves of the coronavirus continued to emerge, resulting in the country going into endless lockdowns. They said COVID-19 might render the new model impractical.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said government lacked the strategy to implement the new continuous assessment model as it needed to get a buy in from teachers.

"The challenge is that there has been no discussion on the new examination strategy with teachers who in essence must be implementers of the system. There is need for a standardised system of continuous assessment which currently is not existent," he said.

"We are also not aware where the marks would come from. One can only assume that they are expected to come from this year's learning. But the big question is: Is there enough time for this in the remaining months? The answer is no. Continuous assessment would need time before it becomes implementable."

Zimbabwe Rural Teachers Union secretary-general Wonder Nyapokoto said: "We are quite concerned because when we talk about assessment, the course duration must match with the requirements of the examination. This is obviously not the case with Zimbabwe owing to COVID-19.

"The results won't really show the actual performance of the student. Therefore, we are requesting Zimsec and the ministry to forego that type of examination until such a time when the framework of the course satisfies the requirements of the exam."

Zimbabwe Teachers Association secretary-general Goodwill Taderera said the proposed examination model would only burden teachers.

"The government once again wants to put unnecessary pressure on our teachers. Not only that, but the government wants to fulfil its aspirations for the sake of it. Students did not learn last year, schools are not even guaranteed that they will remain (open) throughout the calendar year as proposed," he said.

Taderera said it was unfair that policymakers were failing to consult teachers and other education stakeholders before coming up with new policies.

Source - newsday