Minister proposes scrapping of Grade 7 exams

Exams

PRIMARY and Secondary Education Minister Torerai Moyo has proposed the abolishment of the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) Grade Seven examinations in line with international best practices and strengthening continuous assessment tests.

He suggested that learners write their first public examinations at O-level.

Minister Moyo said this on the sidelines of the Bulawayo Provincial Taskforce on Drugs and Substance Abuse meeting on Sunday. 

He said scrapping Grade Seven examinations will help reduce the chances of learners being exposed to societal ills.

“In my personal opinion, it is important for us to eliminate Grade Seven examinations and continue with continuous assessment even at Grade Seven. When they are transitioning to Form One, they can use their third-term report,” said Minister Moyo. “When enrolling them for Form One, secondary schools can give them assessment tests.”

Minister Moyo said some developed countries, which have scrapped Grade Seven examinations, are doing well.

“We did benchmarking to Finland and Sweden when I was the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Primary and Secondary Education and observed that they are progressing well. Educators just give assessments to their children from Grade One right up to Form Four,” he said.

“They just write one public examination, which is Ordinary level and it has worked very well. I think we also need to consider that in Zimbabwe.”

Minister Moyo said scrapping Grade Seven will address the problem of having pupils spending a lot of time out of school after finishing the examinations thus exposing them to drug and substance abuse. 

Apart from drug and substance abuse, there is also a concern that some girls are falling pregnant after they complete writing Grade Seven examinations.

To minimise incidents of learners being exposed to societal vices, Minister Moyo said he has since instructed Grade Seven pupils to remain in class.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education last week announced that Grade Seven pupils will no longer close school after their examinations as was the case in the past, but will instead continue attending classes until the end of the school term in preparation for their transition to secondary school.

Prior to the amendment Grade Seven pupils closed school after their exams, they will now continue attending classes until the end of the school term.

“Another directive that we have given to schools is that Grade Seven teachers should make provisions for lessons for our pupils. If they stay at home, they will have a lot of time which will be wasted and learners will be engaged in drug and substance abuse,” said Minister Moyo

“So, as a ministry, we saw that it is prudent to have those learners remaining in their schools and continue with lessons. When we talk of a curriculum it involves a lot of things such as public speaking, and sporting activities hence children must be engaged and continue with continuous assessment so that they are not influenced by their peers to engage in drug and substance abuse.”

Minister Moyo said Government is also expected to make public outcomes of the consultations on curriculum review.

In May, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education conducted a curriculum review process which saw the issue of Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA) dominating the processes.

“We can’t say we can remove CALA but we have engaged some consultants who have worked on a report which we expect to be a public document before the end of the month. That is when we will come up with a position with regards to CALA,” said Minister Moyo.

He said to address the issue of deficit in schools, Government secured US$10 million to construct schools.

The minister said the construction of new schools will address the problem of hot sitting that has been blamed for some of the social ills in schools.

“One of the suggestions is that let us remove hot sitting in our schools. The reason we have hot sitting is because we have inadequate infrastructure and as a solution to that we want to appeal to development partners who will be involved in school construction,” he said.

“We carried out a survey where we said we need 3 000 new schools in Zimbabwe. The Government is making deliberate efforts to provide funding for that, and this year we got about US$10 million from special drawing rights, which will go a long way in constructing those schools and do away with hot sitting.”

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