Zimsec needs revamp

HARARE - A country's education system is one of its strongest assets as it helps develop the nation’s human resource as well as skills base.

Zimbabwe’ ailing economic and political fortunes have led to thousands of citizens crossing the country’s borders to sell their labour elsewhere with South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia some of the most popular destinations.

Therefore, the recent decision by Cabinet to review Ordinary Level examination fees upwards based on a desire to improve its credibility must be applauded. On Thursday last week,  Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora announced that government had  also resolved that parents should contribute towards the administration and running of the Grade Seven examinations, for long bankrolled by the State.

“I am happy to state that it was a necessary process, which led to a decision with a balance on affordability and the need to secure system credibility,” the minister said.

Perhaps the key words in the minister’s speech are “the need to create system credibility”. The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) in 2014 had to come up with whole new sets of examination papers for many subjects following leaks that dogged that year’s public examinations.

While it was mainly the “O” Level examinations that were affected, we believe the rot could even go deeper, especially given the minister’s admission that Zimbabwe had been exposed to “unscrupulous individuals who obtained qualifications fraudulently and some obtained question papers before sitting for the examination”.

We hope that the extra money charged for running the examinations will be used to clean  the system of all the dirt so that Zimbabwe can pride itself again not only among the continent’s leaders on the literacy list, but also on the quality and credibility of the examinations  and with that, the qualifications offered.

As the country battles with high unemployment figures, it would be a consolation if at least we could offer credible qualifications.

Zimbabwe used to be among countries that offered some of the most credible qualifications on the continent, if not globally. As such, Zimsec must work very hard to ensure the credibility in the system they established following years of collaboration with the University of Cambridge (Local Examinations Syndicate), UCLES, is regained.

Today, most examination centres and sadly, parents, especially those in the upper echelons of society would be more prepared to register their children for the Cambridge examination ahead of Zimsec. Their reasons are mainly drawn from the fact that the Zimsec system is not credible.

Therefore, Zimsec must take this opportunity the resources raised through the increase to revamp its systems and restore the credibility of its system and qualifications.

Comments (1)

Go back to Cambridge. Well organised.

piaget - 7 April 2015

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