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Parents Challenge Exam Re-Writing

Some parents have approached the High Court seeking to reverse the decision by Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima to nulli...

Some parents have approached the High Court seeking to reverse the decision by Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima to nullify the November 2017 Ordinary Level English Paper 2 results.

Mavima last week announced his ministry had withdrawn the English Paper 2 and issued an order for all the students to retake the paper on Friday this week following reports of massive leaking of the examination paper.

However, parents of two of the affected students — Victor Mukomeka and Chingasiyeni Govhati — through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Wednesday approached the High Court challenging Mavima’s authority and arguing he does not have the mandate to act in the manner he did.
Parents Challenge Exam Re-Writing
“In the event that the decisions in this case were taken by the second respondent [Mavima], I submit that such decisions are null and void as the minister has no powers to annul examination results. Section 34 of the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Act [Chapter 25:18] specifically grants such powers to the Examinations Board of the first respondent [Zimbabwe School Examinations Council] Zimsec,” Mukomeka said in his founding affidavit.

“What the minister can do in terms of Section 36 of the same Act, is to promulgate regulations to do with, inter alia, the cancellation, for good cause, of examinations or the results of examinations and the disqualification of examination candidates. These regulations are meant to guide the Examinations Board in exercising their Section 34 powers.
“An exercise of Section 34 powers by the minister would amount to usurping the powers of the examinations board, thereby acting ultra vires the Act and the law. This is a ground for nullification of the minister’s decisions and announcement.”

Mukomeka further said when Mavima made his announcement he failed to make wide consultations since the move was going to cause severe problems for parents and other students who had travelled abroad, such as his.

“The costs attendant to the decisions made to parents are enormous. The announcement by the minister makes mention that students are not to pay for re-examination, and that schools should provide boarding for students. The apparent rationale for this is to remove the cost that parents and children would bear,” he said.

“But this is the smallest fraction of the costs. Students travel far and wide to write examinations. Students attend schools in different parts of the country, and to require them to travel to their original examination centres to sit for examinations is drastic and unnecessarily burdensome. This is the case with my daughter who is in Australia at the moment and would require a substantial amount of money to travel back to Zimbabwe.”

The matter has not yet been set for hearing.