With ‘A’ level results out and ‘O’ level results on the way, there is still panick and anxiety for many awaiting to see the outcome of the 2017 final ZIMSEC examination results. It has been a CATCH-22 situation yearly, with some failing to get their results thereby deserting them due to financial constraints. Many Cambridge students are in possession of results that are determining and defining their future, whether or not they are going to go to advance their education and perhaps go to university. Sadly, another portion of these alumni can only hope to somehow get through fees debt payments and returning lost books in order to get results from schools.
For the past years, quite a number of Ordinary and Advanced level students from government schools in Zimbabwe have failed not only to write examinations because lack of finances, but have also abandoned results at their former schools due to fees arears and other debts which they have failed to clear.
A teacher from one local Harare school noted that, whilst some parents are usually reluctant to pay fees taking advantage of the circular from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, others are genuinely adamant due to poverty which continues to scale up in many homes, and these have deprived those who are genuinely disadvantaged who continue to plead the cases for children not to be chased out of school.
“We discovered that some parents were paying for trips to Kariba, China and even for sports yet they have fees arears, so the school regulated this by not allowing children with fees arears the luxury to pay for sports and trips without clearing fees”, said the teacher from a government school in Harare.
Issues of access to education and the curriculum have been a great debate in Zimbabwe, and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary education has been engaged by different parties, including the civic society to implore government to address short falls in the current education system and regulations (Education Act) as well as improve access to education.
Nonetheless, one rampant challenge the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is yet scrutinize and bring to book is that being faced by many alumni who after completion of education are failing to evidently account for their studies through the results slip and certificate, which are only collected after one is cleared of all arears.
A number of girls who have failed to write examinations or collect results have found themselves in compromising situations such as child marriage, prostitution, border jumping, child labour, amongst other challenges in order to survive. Young Boys have also been forced to jump the border to neighbouring countries such as South Africa, in search of a brighter future.
Milda (not her real name) is amongst those who were unfortunate not to sit for O level examinations in one government School in Mabvuku because of financial problems and because of this, she resolved to travel South Africa to look for menial work to survive. Milda, as an orphan relying on relatives, had a complicated case. Many in her situation resolve to early marriage, which becomes scape goat for survival. This however for some has proven to be a catalyst for abuse.
For those who have managed to at least sit for 2017 examinations and collect results, like Nicky Sezi (20), an alumna from Knowstics Academy Girls Bulawayo, life is on full course; and for those who make it, endless opportunities await. Ncky Sezi, who managed to get 14 points (2 As and 1 B) in Cambridge examinations and 15 points (3 As) in ZIMSEC examinations at Advanced level, is amongst those who are ecstatic about their results, looking forward to attaining a scholarship abroad or locally as she anticipates being a great lawyer.