The government has pleaded with security forces and COVID-19 lockdown enforcers to grant free passage to pupils sitting for their final ZIMSEC examinations and their invigilators.
This follows reports that a number of pupils and teachers were delayed at roadblocks on the first day of the national lockdown.
In a statement yesterday Acting Information minister Jenfan Muswere advised the nation that all examination lasses and teachers must be allowed free passage.
“Teachers including invigilators as well as pupils sitting for exams will be given free passage to their respective schools, subject to them having a clearance letter from the Ministry authorities. For Higher and Tertiary Education students, classes will continue online while final exam classes will be allowed free passage to sit for their examinations,” he said.
Students writing Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council “O” and “A” Level examinations were yesterday caught in the crossfire due to the absence of clear-cut directives which resulted in them turned back or delayed by police as the 30-day COVID-19-induced lockdown came into effect.
Police restricted human and vehicular movements into city centers, leading to long queues that inconvenienced those in the essential services, and examination students were not spared.
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Toungana Ndoro confirmed the unfortunate development, adding that all affected students were allowed to sit for their examinations.
“There were a bit of challenges, but we did not have any case of a student or learner who was willing to write exams who failed to write the examination,” Ndoro said.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the development, saying the issue had been resolved.
“We have noted that as traffic was being screened, some parents with pupils were delayed. Some alerted the police and were allowed to go,” he said.
“We appeal to parents to make advance arrangements with the local police. Parents who raised alarms were assisted.”
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said the affected students were subjected to psychological trauma and accused government of being short-sighted in planning for the welfare of the examination classes.
“There were cases of pupils being delayed for examinations at the roadblocks,” Zhou said.
“Some arrived late, but the good thing is they were allowed to write. It should be noted that the pupils were exposed to psychological trauma.
“There is short-sightedness in the way the government plans its things. The government was supposed to provide dedicated buses that carry pupils, especially in urban centers. The problem was national.”