Monday, 7 April 2014

Grade 7 teachers miss exam deadline

Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter
CHAOS continues to haunt the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) electronic registration drive as some schools in Matabeleland region failed to meet Friday’s deadline. The examination body ordered schools two weeks ago to electronically register pupils for the Grade Seven 2014 examinations before end of day on Friday as registration had ceased to be done manually.

When Chronicle visited the Zimsec Bulawayo offices at 5PM on Friday, scores of school heads and teachers were impatiently queuing, waiting for their turn to register their candidates while some had been locked outside the premises before registering.
Some of the teachers were seated within the premises, still struggling to grasp the new registration process.

The school officials were required to bring laptops to the Zimsec offices where registration software would be installed thus allow them to proceed with registration.

Grade 7 teachers miss exam deadline
The process was, however taking long as a number of schools were sharing laptops while other teachers had to first learn how to use laptops.

One of the teachers who had been locked outside the premises said he had been told to come back today.
“I travelled from Inyathi on Wednesday to come and register our Grade Seven candidates. We went through some training and we were told that we would be able to register by Friday,” he said. “The process is too long because most of us are computer illiterate and we are sharing laptops. Today we went into town to print some documents and when we came back the gates were locked. We were told to come back on Monday.”

The teachers complained that the training programme was disorganised.
“We cannot be blamed for failing to register before the deadline because this programme was disorganised. We were only told about this less than two weeks ago yet there are no adequate resources.

“Zimsec does not even have facilities for the training programme. We are being forced to spend the whole day standing trying to understand the whole registration process. We have nothing against the advanced system, but it should be done in a proper manner,” said another teacher from Hwange.

It was not clear whether Zimsec had officially extended the deadline.
Zimsec director Esau Nhandara, however, defended the electronic registration process, saying the amount of work involved was such that all centres could register before the deadline.

He said the system, which was more efficient and accurate, would go a long way in cutting costs of processing candidates from school, up to the point when they are furnished with a statement entry.

“This is a new system to be installed at examination centres or areas accessible to examination centres. It captures candidates’ entry details electronically at the centre and at the end of the process a compact disc is produced, which is then sent to Zimsec for processing,” said Nhandara.

“The system is easy to use and will result in cleaner data being collected from centres. Operational costs are reduced as less staff will be required to do the processing.”

Nhandara said electronic registration also reduces possibilities of human error and eliminates the use of imported forms and carbon footprint.

He said the system would soon be available at district education offices and cluster resource centres, where schools can register their candidates.

Last year, Zimsec introduced electronic registration for A-Level candidates in a bid to reduce paperwork.
Before, candidates had to manually fill in their details on registration forms, making the registration process cumbersome.

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