GENERAL Education Minister John Phiri apologised in Parliament yesterday for the lapses caused during the administration of Computer Studies examination on November 2, 2015.
Dr Phiri said it was not the ministry’s intention to have some learners write the examinations late in the night but that was due to circumstances and challenges beyond its control.
This followed a point of order raised by Chongwe Member of Parliament Sylvia Masebo on the conduct of the 2015 grade nine Computer Studies Paper 2 (practical) examination.
Dr Phiri said the lapses were due to inadequate computers in some schools while others experienced cuts, while conducting the examination.
“I apologise for this lapse which resulted in many schools presenting their learners for the examination when they weren’t supposed to,” Dr Phiri said.
He however said computer studies shall remain a compulsory subject to be studied by all learners but the subject was not compulsory for examination and grading purposes until further notice.
Dr Phiri said candidates who may not have written the exam or might not performed well in computer studies still had an opportunity to do well in other subjects, be certified and selected to grade 10.
“It should be noted that pupils would not completely lose out even if they did not write the examination or did not perform well in computer studies. This is not the information that did not filter through the structures of the Ministry hence the stampede and confusion in some schools on 2nd November, 2015,” Dr Phiri said.
He said, going forward, the House may wish to know that the ministry would award contracts to supply computers to 300 schools in the 2016 budget.
Dr Phiri has further directed the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ) to set the timetable in such a way that computer studies paper 2 (practical) would be conducted over a period of 3 days.
He said each day would have its own tasks, all aligned to the same assessment scheme and assessing similar competencies in the candidates.
“The ministry of education will work with the examination council of Zambia to explore possibilities of having a separate examination for the large number of candidates who are repeating the grade 9 examination,