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Zimbabwe exam fees deadline is extended

by Staff reporter
21 Mar 2024 at 08:44hrs | Views
THE Government's extension of the deadline by which Ordinary and Advanced Level examination fees should be paid to the first week of May from March 23, has been welcomed by parents and guardians as a gamechanger that provides adequate time to raise the funds.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Torerayi Moyo, told legislators in Parliament yesterday that Government had taken heed of concerns from legislators and parents, who had said they were failing to meet the deadline initially set by the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec).

The issue of examination deadlines was topical during yesterday's Question and Answer Session in the National Assembly as legislators said owing to the El Nino-induced drought, parents were struggling to beat the deadline for payment.

Some examination centres had set the deadline to today.

"The official deadline for November examination is March 25, 2024. However, because of the request from Members of Parliament, I have consulted the board of Zimsec and we have agreed to extend the deadline up to the first week of May. If I am correct, it should be the Friday of that first week," said Minister Moyo.

There has been anxiety and fears that several pupils would not be able to register as candidates due to failure to mobilise resources.

Earlier on, legislators heard that Government had adequate social protection measures on students who were unable to pay tuition and examination fees and also for those at universities.

At primary and secondary level, Government has introduced the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) for disadvantaged learners.

It has unveiled loans for those at State tertiary institutions, administered by financial institutions. Furthermore, "work for tuition fees" programmes have been introduced where those students at universities and colleges unable to pay tuition fees should come forward and work at their institution in lieu of their tuition.

This was said by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, as Leader of the Government Business in the House, and Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, while separately responding to related questions. There had been concerns that many learners at schools and students at tertiary institutions were being barred from writing examinations over non-payment of fees.

In response, Prof Murwira said payment of tuition fees was inevitable either by the State or by parents.

He said with respect to tertiary education, students should use a loan facility from financial institutions or work for fees at their institutions.

Prof Murwira noted that there had been a low uptake of loans.

"On access to education, education is not free; we have to pay for it. The public has to pay for it or the State.

"However, we recognise that people are differently abled in terms of capacity to pay. We have several programmes for students that include ‘pay for fees' and about 300 students have benefited.

"CBZ is also providing loans and we have put money for that. It seems people do not want to borrow. There is a low uptake in taking this money," said Prof Murwira.

He said the university system was automated and it would bar students who were not paid up, hence the need for students to come forward with their plight to authorities for attention.

Minister Ziyambi implored parents to adequately prepare for examination fees on time given that they would have been aware of the pending exams.

"The issue of exam fees has not suddenly become urgent because the deadline is tomorrow.

"The responsible ministry flighted adverts that people can pay in Zimbabwe dollars. Those with challenges must follow the channels and they will get help," said Minister Ziyambi.

Early this week Zimsec informed parents and guardians that Ordinary and Advanced Level, Grade 6 and Grade 7 examination fees shall be paid in Zimbabwe dollars at the interbank rate.

Parents who wish to pay in US dollars and the South African rand, could still do so.

"Fees are pegged in USD, however they are accepted in the currency which the parents/guardians are comfortable with," said Zimsec.

A parent, Mrs Norah Maenzanise, whose child is in Form 4, said the extension of the deadline was welcome.

"This is the best news ever. I was not ready. I tried to balance out the money last pay day but failed due to competing needs," she said.

Mr Tinashe Ndlovu, who has two children, one writing O-Level exams and the other A-Level exams, also welcomed the deadline extension.

Source - The Herald