Zimbabwe has suspended the ZIMSEC June 2021 Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations due to the delays caused by the Covid-19 which impacted the timing and cycle of the examinations, a government spokesperson said yesterday.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said logistics would be put in place to ensure that the candidates who may have wanted to sit for their examinations in June 2021 do so together with other students in November.
“Cabinet considered and approved a request for the suspension of the ZIMSEC June 2021 Ordinary and Advanced Level Examination Session, which was presented by the Primary and Secondary Education minister.
“Cabinet was advised that the Covid-19 pandemic that broke out in 2020 had negatively impacted on the timing and cycle of public examinations, with the 2020 Grade 7, ‘O’ Level and ‘A’ Level examinations having commenced in early December 2020 and ended in early February 2021, instead of the usual period stretching from October to November of each year,” Mutsvangwa said at a post Cabinet briefing yesterday.
Cabinet said the delay in writing and the marking of the previous examinations had affected the preparation and the setting of the next examination hence the decision to temporarily suspend the June 2021 examinations.
“This suspension of the June 2021 examination session will allow for timely focus on the November examination preparations and aid an effective focus of resources,” Mutsvangwa said.
She said the Cabinet has also received and approved proposals on the use of new technology in housing construction as part of the strategy to mitigate the country’s huge accommodation backlog.
Cabinet also received a report on the strategies to deal with the country’s huge passport issuance backlog, which was presented by the Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage minister, she said.
Cabinet noted that failure to provide passports on time was inconveniencing citizens, with the current backlog now at 256 000.
The passport production factory has an installed production capacity of 8, 000 passport booklets per day. However, the passport personalisation capacity was below at 2,500 passports per day, while the installed quality assurance is further down at 2, 000 passports per day.
Foreign currency is required for the off-shore procurement of consumables.
However, the current fees payable in the local currency are no longer viable due to the fact that the auction exchange rate, when applied to the fees charged translate to unviable returns on expenses.
The production cost for a single passport is US$58.55.
“Cabinet agreed that measures be taken to deal effectively with the current situation which is affecting locals and diasporans, alike.
“Thus passport fees were reviewed to US$60; and US$200 for a three-day passport issuance, pegged at the average US$:ZW$ exchange rate. An emergency 24-hours passport remains pegged at a cost of US$318.00. This will ensure appropriate cost-factored passport revenue. E-Passport fees are pegged at US$80.00,” Cabinet said.