Examinations disrupted over school fees

HARARE - There was pandemonium at St Peters Kubatana High School in Harare yesterday following a decision by authorities to bar pupils who had not paid their fees in full from writing Ordinary level final exams.

Invigilators who spoke to the Daily News said the situation turned tense after a group of Zanu PF-aligned paramilitary group Chipangano, masquerading as parents arrived and addressed the students who were writing Shona Paper 1.

Education minister David Coltart immediately condemned the actions of both the deputy headmaster Simbarashe Innocent Mavetera and the “parents.”

“It is unacceptable behaviour by the teacher and I am very concerned about this. Our policy is that there is no child who is eligible who should be denied the opportunity to write because they have not paid school fees.

“If the school fees for a child have not been paid they should be allowed to write and at least the results may be withheld but under no circumstances should a child be denied a chance to write. Any teacher who is in breach of this policy is subject to sanction or disciplinary action,” an exasperated Coltart told the Daily News in an interview.

“I also do not condone the actions of parents who have caused disruptions in the process also worsening the situation. I urge them to report such cases to the relevant offices like the district provincial education offices or better still report straight to my office,” the Education minister said.

Teachers said the deputy headmaster never consulted anyone.

“Mavetera took a unilateral decision to bar the students from sitting for their final examinations. It happened again yesterday (Monday) during the English Paper 1 and Agriculture practical paper.

“He later allowed the children but only after threatening to throw them out today (yesterday),” said a teacher who refused to be identified.

He said the students were supposed to start writing the exam at 8am yesterday when Mavetera dragged those who had not paid out of the rooms.

“He ordered every pupil who has not paid their fees in full out of the exam hall. That is when someone called the Chipangano guys. They (Chipangano) manhandled Mavetera. There was a 20-minute delay.

“The Chipangano guys demanded to address the students and told them no one should be denied a chance to write the examinations. The situation almost turned nasty before other teachers intervened on behalf of Mavetera,” said an invigilator.

Mavetera refused to comment when contacted by the Daily News.

“I do not talk to the press,” he said before switching off his mobile.

Zimbabwe’s education sector once the envy of many is lurching from one crisis to another.

Only a week ago officials had to change 13 examinations following a leakage in Matabeleland.

Comments (2)

This country is pathetic. Seriously do you think any Zimsec results are credible anymore? Please lets stop bragging that Zim has the highest literacy rate. Thats history. Lets start from scratch in rebuilding our education system, and the country as a whole.

london - 31 October 2012

Editor, As the saying goes "one swallow does not a summer make" and one headmaster out of 8500 headmasters losing examination papers is not an indication that Zimsec, or the education system for that matter, is in chaos. Likewise this incident reported in this piece has happened in one school - there is no evidence that this is a widespread practice across Zimbabwe. No one doubts that the education system is still in crisis but a serious newspaper must give credit where it is due - and the education sector is not "lurching from one crisis to another". In fact the objective truth is that the education sector has stabilised dramatically in the last 3 years and is gradually improving. It is not perfect, far from it, but your report is a gross misrepresentation of the truth and not becoming your newspaper. Senator David Coltart

David Coltart - 1 November 2012

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