En­trance test fees spark fury

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nqo­bile Tshili

PAR­ENTS seek­ing Form One places at John Tal­lach High School have con­demned the school’s de­ci­sion to charge them for an en­trance test.

e Gov­ern­ment has is­sued a stand­ing di­rec­tive for schools not to charge for en­trance tests.

John Tal­lach High School, which had the best Ordinary Level pub­lic ex­am­i­na­tions in Mata­bele­land North last year, con­ducted a Form One en­trance test for 2017 at Them­biso Pri­mary School in Bu­l­awayo’s Lu­veve sub­urb on Fri­day.

It was charg­ing $5 per pupil, but said those were “ad­min­is­tra­tive charges.”

Pupils were also re­quired to bring two pass­port size pho­tos for the ex­ams.

Un­con­firmed re­ports said the school in­vited about 1 000 chil­dren for the test yet it can only cater for less than 150 pupils at Form One.

Par­ents queried the school’s de­ci­sion to have the test when Grade Seven re­sults will be used to de­cide who gets a Form One place.

They were also not happy with the large num­ber of stu­dents who were in­vited for a lim­ited num­ber of places.

The test came at a time when the Min­istry of Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion said par­ents should not be made to pay for en­trance tests as schools were prof­i­teer­ing from the ex­er­cise.

The Chron­i­cle vis­ited Them­biso Pri­mary School on Fri­day and observed mul­ti­tudes of par­ents and pupils.

School of­fi­cials de­clined to speak to the news crew and re­ferred ques­tions to Mata­bele­land North’s Pro­vin­cial Ed­u­ca­tion Di­rec­tor Mrs Boi­tatelo Mn­guni.

Mrs Mn­guni said John Tal­lach High School was not charg­ing en­trance test fees but ad­min­is­tra­tion fees.

“The school charges an ad­min­is­tra­tion fee as it con­ducts its en­trance test in premises that are not theirs. This is for the con­ve­nience of par­ents who are mostly from Bu­l­awayo,” she said.

Mrs Mn­guni said the en­trance test was not de­ci­sive as Grade Seven re­sults will ul­ti­mately de­ter­mine who will be en­rolled at the school.

“Th­ese are pre­lim­i­nary ex­ams but the en­rol­ment will be de­cided by the Grade Seven re­sults,” she said.

Par­ents who spoke to The Chron­i­cle on con­di­tion of anonymity ex­pressed their un­hap­pi­ness.

“The school in­vited 500 girls and 500 boys for the test when their in­take is about 140 pupils. This is fraud­u­lent be­cause as par­ents we’re ex­pected to pay $5 and bring two pass­port size pho­tos for the test. What’s the prob­a­bil­ity of the child pass­ing the exam in such a large pool? If they knew that they had many in­ter­ested pupils they should’ve done some in­ter­nal screen­ing first be­fore the pub­lic test,” said one par­ent.

An­other par­ent said apart from the fact that the school was de­fraud­ing par­ents, it should ad­here to the laws of the coun­try.

“We can’t be a coun­try that doesn’t ob­serve its laws. There is some­thing wrong with this sys­tem. The school has to be brought to book,” said the par­ent. — @nqot­shili.

John Tal­lach High School hope­fuls wait with their par­ents out­side Them­biso Pri­mary School in Lu­veve, Bu­l­awayo, to write the Form One en­trance test on Fri­day

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