CHAOS could once again affect the administration of O-level and A-level examinations this year after revelations that government has turned down a proposal by the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations C
ouncil (Zimsec) to have fees increased by up to 20 000%.
The Zimsec board had proposed to the Ministry of Education to have O-level examination fees raised from $100 to $20 000 per subject and those for A-level from $1 000 to $100 000. These represent increases of 10 000% and 20 000% for O and A-level subjects respectively.
Zimsec information and publications manager, Faith Chasokela, last week confirmed in a written response that the examinations body was waiting for government’s response to the proposed fees. She however evaded the question regarding the proposed margins of increment. Sources at Zimsec provided the figures to the Zimbabwe Independent.
“Government makes the decision on these levels and we are still awaiting the response to our proposals,” she said.
The Zimsec management has said that its failure to pay markers in time in the last couple of years as well as administer the examinations properly have been caused by funding constraints.
Chasokela stated that Zimsec had “indicated the true costs of examinations” to government. “We have indicated the true costs of examinations per unit and it is the prerogative of government to decide how much is paid by the client and by government as subsidy respectively,” she said.
Sources this week said the ministry had rejected Zimsec’s proposals and was expected to order the examinations body to stick to the old fees.
The examination board has been unable to get assistance from government since the Zanu PF administration implemented a populist decision of localising O-level and A-level exams in 2001. The University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom used to run the examinations.
Question paper leakages and mix-ups of results have characterised the running of examinations during the past three years.
Last year there were serious mix-ups in the issuing of results with some candidates getting grades in subjects they didn’t sit whilst others failed to get marks for subjects they had written.