A 16-year-old pupil who recently returned from Botswana is reportedly writing his Ordinary Level June examinations under quarantine in Bulawayo.
The teenager returned to the country on Friday last week ahead of the June Advanced and Ordinary Level examinations which started on Tuesday.
The boy (name withheld) wrote Mathematics Paper 1 on Wednesday at a centre in Bulawayo where he is quarantined.
The Bulawayo Covid-19 provincial task force led by Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube and the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) facilitated the writing of the exams at the centre.
The boy could not proceed to his home or school as he has to complete the 21-day mandatory quarantine period for returning residents which is part of measures meant to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The number of subjects the boy is sitting could not be established yesterday. Bulawayo provincial social welfare officer Mr Fanwell Dzoma said the boy was from Matabeleland South but he did not know when he travelled to Botswana.
“We don’t have much details on him. What we do is just receive returnees and we don’t ask them when they left the country. We don’t know where his parents are although we are aware that he is from Matabeleland South province,” said Mr Dzoma.
The country is receiving thousands of returnees from South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, United Kingdom, US and China among other countries. Minister Ncube said it was good that the boy’s family opted to follow the correct channels as opposed to smuggling the minor into the country so that he could write the examinations.
“We had this young boy, he arrived in the country on Friday last week from Botswana and was placed under quarantine here in Bulawayo. He came to write his June examinations but due to the laid down regulations, he could not proceed home or to the school without spending the mandatory 21 days at a quarantine centre,” said Minister Ncube.
She said they were informed of the boy’s predicament and engaged both the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and Zimsec.
“Arrangements were then made with Zimsec and the school to enable the boy to fulfil his wish to write the examinations despite being under quarantine,”said Minister Ncube. She said all the necessary measures were taken to ensure that the quarantine centre was conducive for the writing of the examinations.
Minister Ncube said Covid-19 regulations were being adhered to during the writing of the exams to ensure the pupil and the invigilators were not exposed to the virus. She said being in a quarantine facility does not translate to citizens’ rights being withdrawn hence her committee did its best to ensure the boy was not denied his right to sit for the examinations.
“When you are in a quarantine centre, you are not in prison, you are placed in a holding facility for your safety and that of your family as well as the community. Once you are cleared of Covid-19 you then join your family without endangering their lives. The measure is meant to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission from those coming from outside the country,” she said.
Zimsec spokesperson Ms Nicky Dlamini said Government has come up with a special arrangement for quarantined candidates to sit for June examinations within quarantine facilities.
“We facilitate the writing of their examinations from quarantine centres. Those who are under self-isolation or house isolation, the Ministry of Health and Child Care assists but I don’t think we have candidates that are under self-isolation,” said Ms Dlamini.