LOCAL NEWS

Government considering return of June examinations

Schools will open for the 2023 first term tomorrow, with the exception of boarding schools in two provinces where the authorities have issued an adverse weather alert, prompted by downpours over the weekend in parts of the country.

Opening of the schools will also witness the phased rollout of the State-funded basic education programme in some learning institutions in rural communities, formally known as “Group C” schools, which are now classified as P3 and S3 schools.
Government will also recruit 7 000 teachers to further reduce the teacher-pupil ratio and guarantee quality learning in public schools.

This year could also witness the return of mid-year public examinations, with the authorities finalising consultations to ascertain the value of recommencing the tests.

The mid-year exams were put on hold two years ago, as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19 in schools.
In an interview, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education permanent secretary Mrs Tumisang Thabela said all was set for the commencement of the first term.

“We are ready to open, but the only challenge we have now is the warning that we were given of the extreme weather conditions over this weekend,” she said.

“We have warned our officers to exercise caution. We have also asked the boarders to wait a bit, if they think that it is not safe and parents not to take their children to school yet.

“Otherwise, our children are eager to go back to school and we are also eager to go back and start work.”
Mrs Thabela said consultation on the rollout of the State-funded education initiative was ongoing, with the programme set to commence when schools open.

“We have been allowed to recruit 7 000 teachers this year. In terms of the budget, we don’t know how many we will be allowed to take in January, because it all depends on the financial standing of Government,” she added.

Government, said Mrs Thabela, also plans to construct more schools this year to address the education infrastructure deficit.

“We are being assisted by parents, by devolution and Constituency Development Funds to develop new schools but definitely the gap is still too much.

“We are appealing to all friends of Government to help us reduce the deficit because we are still terribly short in terms of schools,” she said.

Mrs Thabela said the resumption of the June public examinations was under consideration.

“We are thinking of bringing back June exams because, all along, Covid-19 had made it impossible to hold the exams, but we have said we want to try to resume the exams, if possible, either this year or next year.”

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