O-Level exams to spill into next year

Debra Matabvu

PUBLIC examinations for Ordinary Level candidates will spill into January next year, while results for Grade Seven candidates will be released before year-end to allow parents adequate time to secure Form One places for their children.

This comes as Government will tomorrow meet civil servants’ representatives to deliberate on a Cost of Living Adjustment for the last quarter of the year in a development that is likely to see striking teachers return to work.

The examinations begin on December 1 with around 1,2 million candidates having registered to sit for the exams countrywide.

Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) board chairperson Professor Eddie Mwenje told The Sunday Mail that Grade 7 candidates will sit first.


Advanced Level examinations will be completed by year-end.

“Examinations will start on December 1 with Grade Seven candidates being the first to sit for the exams,” said Prof Mwenje.

“This will enable their answer scripts to be marked and the results to be published in December so as to allow parents enough time to look for Form One places.

“Advanced Level candidates are also likely to write and complete their examinations in December. Ordinary Level classes will have their examinations spill into January.”

He said due to the large number of subjects offered at O’Level, it was inevitable that the exams would spill into 2021.

“The printing of Grade Seven examination papers is complete and now we are printing the Ordinary and Advanced level papers.

“We are now in consultation with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on the operational modalities, which include the exact dates on which a particular paper will be written and the order in which the papers will be written,” Prof Mwenje said.

Around 600 000 pupils will sit for Grade Seven examinations, while about 400 000 have registered for the Ordinary Level exams with nearly 200 000 candidates set to sit for the Advanced Level exams.

Exam classes are undergoing an intense crash programme to ensure that learners catch up on lost learning time.

Pupils sitting for the Cambridge examinations are already halfway through their exams, which started on October 1 and are ending on November 18.


British Council in Zimbabwe, which is the Cambridge partner, said the examinations have been going on without incident.

“We are almost halfway through and there has been a smooth flow of the examinations,” said the organisation’s business development manager, Mr Denis Madzamba.

About 50 000 pupils are sitting for Cambridge examinations at 118 private schools across the country.

Educationist Dr Cephas Nziramasanga proposed “lenient examinations” in light of the uncertain circumstances that learners have faced.

“We are now left with a month before the examinations start and given the circumstances, there are two options that are there, the first one being that they can stop the examinations and let pupils write when they are ready,” he said.

“The second option is that they let the pupils sit for the examinations with the markers being lenient and understanding.

“Personally I would go for the second option so that pupils can proceed to the next level.

“I think the examinations should be ‘soft’ so that pupils are tested on issues that they know and we hope they pass so that they go to next stage.

“It must be a win-win situation for everyone.”

Examination preparations for pupils have been hampered by failure by some teachers to report for duty.


The teachers are however, expected to report for duty as Government has said it will continue to improve the welfare of civil servants.

In a statement on Friday last week, Public Service Commission secretary, Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe, said the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC), which comprises Government and civil servants’ representative body, the Apex Council, will meet tomorrow to finalise issues around improving workers’ welfare.

He said the meeting will deliberate on a Cost of Living Adjustment for the last quarter of the year.

“Following a request from workers to postpone the initially agreed meeting, both parties decided to reschedule the meeting to Monday the 2nd of November 2020.

“The Government reiterates its commitment to continuous and productive dialogue with its workers on ways to improve conditions of service.”

Apex Council deputy chairperson, Mr David Dzatsunga, confirmed that the two parties would meet tomorrow.

“We are meeting tomorrow and we have been clear on what we want. So we wait to see what Government is bringing to the table,” he said.