HIGH Court judge Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo yesterday overturned Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima’s order compelling all the 260 000 students who sat for last November’s Ordinary Level English Paper 2 examination to be re-examined tomorrow.
BY CHARLES LAITON/OBEY MANAYITI/KUDZAI MUCHENJEKWA
The judge ordered the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) to consider releasing results using the outcome of the English Language Paper 1 examination.
Mavima last week ordered a resit following reports of massive leakages of the paper through social media.
But Justice Matanda-Moyo castigated Zimsec’s conduct which she said was going to cause more harm to the students than good.
Human rights lawyer Denford Halimani, who represented the two parents who filed the court challenge against Mavima, said the ruling effectively quashes the move to have students sit for the examination as had been directed by government.
“The court held that Zimsec should come up with results based on English Paper 1, which was written in November without any leakages,” Halimani said.
“The court, in fact, noted that it was the conduct of Zimsec which was going to punish innocent children. This probably influenced the court to come to this decision, but at this moment I need to make it very clear that we do not have the full written judgment. We have just listened to the ex-tempore ruling in chambers, so we are going to get the full reasons in due course. But the most important thing is that the children are not going to write that exam.”
The concerned parents, Victor Mukomeka and Chingasiyeni Govhati, approached the court last week seeking a court order declaring Mavima’s announcement as null and void, arguing the minister’s decision was against the country’s laws.
The parents argued that some of the students had travelled outside the country and were likely to fail to report at their respective registration centres by tomorrow.
Contacted for comment after the court ruling, Zimsec spokesperson Nicky Dhlamini said she was in a meeting and unable to take questions.
But, sources told NewsDay that Zimsec yesterday immediately recalled some trucks that had already left for various parts of the country to distribute the examination material.
“Some trucks had already left, while others are still being loaded. The paper was printed at Fidelity Printers and they were despatched to different provinces. Since the court has ruled otherwise, there is no option, but to recall the trucks,” a source said.
“The top leadership is locked in a series of meetings since the judgment was passed, but indications are that they will comply with the decision. Pressure is mounting on them now as to the way forward.”
Meanwhile, scores of protesters had earlier marched in Harare’s central business district demonstrating against the decision to force students to retake the English Paper 2 examination.
Opposition Transform Zimbabwe supporters also participated in the protests.
Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume said it was disappointing that parents and students were expected to bear inconveniences caused by bad decisions made by Zimsec officials.
“The issue of corruption at Zimsec has grown over the years and surprisingly no action has been taken, no one has been fired and no one has resigned showing that there is a conspiracy to destroy our education system in Zimbabwe,” Ngarivhume said.
“The decision for the children to retake their exams should not be made by Zimsec and the minister alone, but parents should be consulted too because we are stakeholders.
If we are to believe what the minister says about the irregularities having been discovered after the examinations were written, one wonders why the minister waited until February to take that decision.”