Parents of learners hoping to write June and November Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations have expressed concerns over the exorbitant registrations fees, saying they could deprive some leaners of their right to education as they can’t afford them.
Parents have urged the examination body to review the fees.
Ordinary Level examinations have been pegged at US$24 per subject, with students paying only US$11, while government pays the rest.
Advanced Level examination fees are at US$48, but students will pay only US$22, while government pays the rest.
The fees can also be paid in local currency at the prevailing rate.
Talking to this publication, a parent said the examination body should put into consideration the economic situation in the country before pegging their fees.
“It’s not a secret that our economy is ailing and parents are struggling. So ZIMSEC should also become a bit lenient, lest a lot of children will not be able to sit for the examinations”, Hebert Chimhuru said.
Another parent also expressed similar concerns saying most of the learners in Zimbabwe come from poor families and it’s being futher worsened by the economic situations in the country, therefore ZIMSEC has to review the fees to accommodate everyone.
“ZIMSEC examination fees should be reviewed. A lot of parents are failing to put food on the table, what about paying such exorbitant amount for examination fees? A lot will be left with no option other than deferring,” Learnmore Gumure said.
In a statement, the Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) also lamented over the new examination fees structures and payment deadlines and described them ‘inhuman’.
“Zimsec pegged its registration fees to an equivalent of US$24 dollars per subject. This gives an average Ordinary Level candidate the cost burden of US$120 for a minimum of five subjects.
“This is occurring in a context where the average civil servant is earning close to US$150 per month, hence making the examination fee way above their means. It also means that the average learner will require more than four months to raise adequate funds to register for examinations while the Friday April 14 deadline leaves students with less than six days to pay,” partly reads the Artuz statement.
“Examinations are also a component of learning in the education system, and we believe that every learner should have access to them. Furthermore, the minimalism of the exam centres remains another issue of concern especially in marginalised communities where a few schools have registered centres for examinations.
Teachers also said learners are forced to walk long distances from their satellite schools to register at the registered examination centres.
“Learners who are forced to walk for long distances to sit for examinations are being disadvantaged as they have less time to do final preparations and will be exhausted when they sit for examinations. Most of these satellite schools consistently record zero percent pass rates.”
Efforts to get a comment from the examination body were not fruitful.