The decision by the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council to extend the November Ordinary and Advanced Level public examinations registration deadline from March 30 to April 21 is commendable.
The council demonstrated that it is committed to ensuring that all the pupils that are supposed to sit for the public examinations are afforded the opportunity to do so. Most parents had indicated that they were unable to meet the earlier deadline because school authorities had notified them of the deadline two weeks before the set date.
Now that the deadline has been extended, the parents who are yet to pay the fees should strive to meet the deadline so that their children are not denied the opportunity to sit for the examinations. Examination centres usually set earlier deadlines in order to meet the Zimsec deadline and this makes sense given the logistics involved in the registration exercise.
We want to however implore exam centres to set deadlines that are as close as possible to the Zimsec deadlines in order to give parents ample time to raise the required fees. Parents on their part should not wait until the last minute to pay the examination fees.
In future parents should take advantage of the Zimsec’s system of paying examination fees in instalments spread over two years. Under this system parents can start paying Grade 7, O-level and A-level exam fees in instalments a year earlier.
Many parents have said they were not aware of this system which means Zimsec should embark on an awareness campaign so that many parents can spread the payment of fees over two years which will make exam fees affordable to the majority of them.
Another positive development following the extension of the registration deadline is that Zimdef has resolved to pay A-level examination fees for pupils under STEM. Zimdef said following submissions by the stakeholders, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development resolved to pay the exam fees.
It is our fervent hope that in future no child will be denied the opportunity to sit for public examinations given the relaxed payment system adopted by Zimsec.