Govt should shelve 2020 school exams

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JUST last week, some teacher organisations called for the start of serious consultations on the modalities that should be followed in reopening schools.

This made a lot of sense, especially the fact that it was an obvious acknowledgement of the important place learners’ futures occupy on the list of national priorities.

Public examinations, have traditionally determined the direction a learner’s life would take. As such, it remains an important process in the whole education programme for leaners at all levels.

When the government simply states a position on re-opening and sitting of examinations without exploring other modalities, it only reflects the absence of adequate consultative processes.

The impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on all sectors, including education are too phenomenal and hence cannot be wished away.

When the Covid-19-induced lockdown was imposed back in March, it also led to the immediate closure of learning institutions.

Assuming that whatever followed like online learning, zoom lessons, radio lessons as well as other ad hoc programmes, would address the needs of learners adequately preparing them for this year’s examinations is far-fetched.

There are learners who never had an opportunity to be part of any of these channels, not because they did not want to, but because of their parents’ and guardians’ station in life.

The majority of learners have not had any meaningful learning after March 2020 and expecting them to write examinations with this level of preparation is unfair.

The government must realise that some of the decisions they make in the comfort of high-rise city offices without considering the reach and impacts they may have should never be allowed to stand.

The country, like the rest of the world, has taken a knock from Covid-19. The impacts are real and global although they may differ in mould and magnitude from nation to nation.

How the respective nations will respond to these calamities facing them is dependent on their unique situations. In Zimbabwe, the 2020 learning calendar should just be written off.

Parents and guardians have already prepared for this eventuality. There is no way that the government can then try and work on a calendar that ignores the ravages of coronavirus.

We must accept that 2020 is already lost for learners and forcing them to write without preparing will not solve our challenges.

If anything, this is the time that stakeholders must be sharing ideas on how best the challenges in the education sector in the context of Covid-19 can be addressed.

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