Zimbabwe says school examinations to go ahead but idea is not to punish pupils

Zimbabwe says school examinations to go ahead but idea is not to punish pupils

HON. NDEBELE:  I appreciate the Hon. Minister’s response.  Is government’s stance to proceed with examinations when they are fully aware that students in public schools are not prepared and have not been going to school not confirmation of the position that education is now a privilege for the rich and not a right?  I thank you.

HON. PROF. MURWIRA:  Hon. Speaker, a nation is its people.  It is not you, you and you but us.  So when it comes to the education of our children, it is the responsibility of all and sundry, especially the adults, professionals and all the citizens who are responsible for the education of its children.  It is from that point of view that we are saying we are asserting the importance of access to free education and progressively so.  Also, that we know there are exams that have to be written.  I had the privilege today to visit the ZIMSEC factory where they are doing their best now to prepare for the examination period.  It is important that steps are being made to make sure that the examinations are written, but also steps are being made to make sure that they are not written in a compromising environment.  I really trust the men and women who are working on this issue to make sure that our students are given appropriate education.  So, it is a matter of us as a country and us as a people giving access and preparing our students for examinations in different ways, but also being reasonable in the process.  I believe reasonability is going to prevail as a means to make sure that examinations are written without compromising anything.  I thank you.

HON. NDEBELE:  Hon. Speaker, I want you to take note of the fact that my supplementary question was not answered at all, just for the record.  That is all.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Would you want to repeat it for the Minister?

HON. NDEBELE:  I could easily do that Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, sometimes the problem might be lack of the listener trying to conceptualise the philosophy. Please proceed Hon. Member.

HON. NDEBELE:  I was checking with the Minister if government’s stance or their insistence to proceed with examinations when they are fully aware that students in public schools are not prepared and have not been going to school not confirmation of the position that education is now a privilege for the rich and not a right?  I thank you.

HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Mr. Speaker, I seek protection from Hon Sikhala who wants to bash me if I do not answer.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  It is very important for us to realise that our intention is never to punish our pupils.  The intention is to make sure that they are on time and they lose less time because of the COVID-19 problems that we had.  So, all steps are being taken to make sure that we do not compromise their right to access to education.  When it comes to how prepared and how less prepared they are, I think this is a very technical question because there are several means that are being deployed to teach our students.  There are radio lessons, there is internet and reading.  I am sure that when it comes to access to education, the intention is the most important, the intention is never to deny our students access to primary and secondary education.  When COVID came in, nobody invited it but it is a malady that befell upon everybody, so we are faced with a situation where flexibility and rewiring of the strategy has to happen.  However, our students still should have that access to education.  Given this, as I say, it is important to know that there are no ill intentions. The intentions are to make sure that our pupils have access to education but we have to be flexible. It is not like yesterday because yesterday there was no COVID. Today there is COVID. We will be able to succeed by changing the way we reach that goal. I thank you.

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