Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
GRADE Seven pupils will be examined in Agriculture for the first time this year, a move that will change the highest pass at that level from four to five units, the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec) has confirmed.
Grade Sevens are currently tested in four subjects, namely Mathematics, English, Shona and General Paper.
Zimsec has since sent specimen papers and circulars on the new examination to schools.
In an interview with The Herald on Tuesday, Zimsec public relations manager Ms Nicky Dhlamini said they had done all the neccessary preparations.
“Yes, the 2017 Grade Sevens will indeed write Agriculture this year. The units for Grade Seven pass will change from four to five in accordance with the number of subjects written,” she said.
She said the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education had since assured the examinations body of the preparedness of the pupils to sit for the examination this year.
The introduction of Agriculture is part of a Government drive to revamp the school curriculum.
Ms Dhlamini said according to information at hand, Agriculture had been taught in lower grades, hence there was no basis to suggest that the current Grade Seven pupils were not prepared for the exam.
“Zimsec would like to assure our stakeholders that we have done all the necessary preparations for the assessment of Agriculture at Grade Seven. Specimen papers and circulars on the examination have been sent out to schools in aid of these preparations,” she said.
Director of the Curriculum Development Unit Dr Arthur Makanda said preparations for the examinations had been done well and everything was above board.
“In 2012, the department developed an Agriculture syllabus for Grade Four to Seven and that syllabus was examined under General Paper. So, it is not like they are Atarting agriculture this year.
“They have been doing agriculture since 2012 under Environmental Studies before it became a separate subject for those in Grade Four to Seven. So, it was separated to become a stand-alone Agriculture subject, which was examined previously as part of General Paper and this was when the ministry was still Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Cul- ture.
“So, what we have done in the new curriculum is that Agriculture starts at Grade Three. Previously Grade Three fell under the category of infants where they were not doing Agriculture. Now that they are in the junior bracket, this is why we said they will start Agriculture this year. So, from Grade Four to Seven previously, Agriculture has been a subject,” he said.
When asked about the availability of resources for Agriculture in schools, Dr Makanda said: “Yes, the resources for Agriculture are there and what we have only done is to realign the syllabus and the books so that it takes up Grade Three, but besides that, Agriculture resources for the other levels have always been available.”