GOVERNMENT has apologised over the poor handling of Grade Nine information communication technology (ICT) practical examinations in which some pupils finished writing around 03:00 hours on November 2.
Minister of General Education John Phiri said it was not the ministry’s intention to have the Grade Nine pupils write the ICT practical examinations in the night. He said the situation was caused by circumstances and challenges beyond its control such as inadequate computers and power-cuts.
Dr Phiri told Parliament in a ministerial statement yesterday that such a thing would not happen again as Government is putting in place effective interventions to ensure the availability of adequate computers and no power-cuts in schools.
“Government would like to apologise to the parents and learners for the inconvenience caused during the administration of computer studies practical examinations.
“Government would also like to take this opportunity to appeal for calm among parents and learners as the computer studies exams will not be a compulsory subject to determine qualification to Grade 10,” he said.
Dr Phiri said candidates for the junior secondary school-leavers’ examination will be graded on any best six subjects.
The minister assured that candidates who may not have adequate resources to learn computer studies will not be disadvantaged as a result of this resolution.
He said there will be no work overload for candidates as all the subjects will be optional for grading purposes only.
“This is one of the rules that will be followed when grading candidates at this level of education to ensure that no candidate was disadvantaged.
“Let me emphasise that six passes are required for a learner to progress from Grade Nt is not the ministry’s intention to have the Grade Nine pupils write the ICT practical examinations in the nightine to 10. Therefore, during this transition phase, as we expand access to the new revised content, the computer exams will be optional,” Dr Phiri said.
He said only those schools and learners who are adequately prepared will write the exams.
Dr Phiri also said this will be important for all pupils to learn the computers although the subject will be optional.
He also said for teaching purposes, the ministry will progressively introduce initiatives to increase ICT multi-media in schools as well as issue instructions to all schools through provincial education officers, stipulating clearly the number of pupils per computer.