'Evening classes for 'O' Level repeaters'

HARARE - Government says students who fail to attain at least five Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) credits at Ordinary Level must be given another chance by enrolling again through a parallel evening programme.

Out of the 173 856 candidates who sat for the Zimsec examinations last year, only 36 031 managed to pass the required five subjects for a full certificate meaning close to 140 000 failed.

Lazarus Dokora, the minister of Primary and Secondary Education told a media conference in Harare last week that the 137 825 candidates who did not make it in 2013 would not be neglected as useless.

Dokora said government-administered lessons after the normal school time would be introduced at schools countrywide beginning next term.

Dokora, however, bemoaned the fact that candidates were shunning technical and vocational subjects such as Music whose candidature in the 2013 examinations stood at 211, Food and Nutrition (4 874), Computer Studies (1 533), Business Studies (3 633) and Home Management (43) — which teach life skills in the event one fails to further their education.

In light of this, the minister said lessons would be conducted by the daytime teachers at the schools.

The fees that the learners will pay will be used for the remuneration of their teachers as government cannot afford to incentivise them for the extra work owing to cash shortages.

“Beginning in March, those who did not necessarily pass the required number of subjects have a chance to redeem themselves through a programme in which they come to school after the conventional school,” Dokora said.

“The learners will pay something obviously, and it is from that payment that the teachers will be taken care of.”

He said government had come up with a roadmap to review the current schools’ curriculum to ensure that the knowledge and skills given to learners is effective and credible in the face of challenges relating to non-availability of teachers with the necessary competencies.

“Technical-vocational subjects are meant to give candidates real life skills and enhance transition from school to the world of work to many who do not proceed with further education,” Dokora said.

“Therefore, the technical vocational subjects offered at schools need to be retained and in fact increased.”

According to results published by Zimsec last week, the overall pass rate for the November 2013 ‘O’ Level examination was 20,72 percent, a 2,32 percent increase from the November 2012 pass rate of 18,4 percent.

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