Outcry over Primary and High School examinations

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Pulane Chaka

Examinations Council of Lesotho (ECOL), amid fears of the COVID-19, has sparked an outcry by publishing a call for payments of examinations fees signaling that students completing their studies will have to sit for exams.

KDNews understands ECOL expects primary school leaving and high school graduating students to sit for final examinations by the end of the year amid COVID-19 disruptions of their school calendar.

Since March 30th, learners were forced to cease their studies due to COVID-19 in order to avoid the spread of the pandemic.

But the council’s decision has parents concerned whether their children are prepared to sit for examinations while others want their children to repeat whatever grade they were in when the pandemic broke out when the 2021 academic year starts.

For parents and guardians like Refiloe Lefoka aged 34 and Relebohile Seephephe aged 37 respectively it is mixed feelings and reactions on whether their children should sit for examinations.

Both Lefoka and Seephephe are responsible for minors who are 14 years old and 15 years old respectively.

Lefoka said she does not want her son to write exams as she does not believe that he is prepared.

“A lo ngola eng, ae rutueng neng? (meaning: What should he go be examined on when he was never taught anything?)” said Lefoka.

For Seephephe her younger brother did not even have access to e-learning materials and argues that the educators of the school he is in did not contact her in any capacity to pass along learning materials.

“I do not want him to, there’s always next year,” Seephephe said in response to whether or not she was comfortable allowing her brother to write in the upcoming examinations.

Although an idea frowned upon by many like Lefoka and Seephephe, Katleho Moroeng aged 21 said he holds a view that not all is lost and examinations are a possibility.

Moroeng, expressing his mixed views said he believes his sibling, who is currently a high school student, is both prepared and unprepared for examinations at the same time.

He says his sibling is prepared because his sibling has been seeing a tutor and yet again unprepared because he missed the traditional classroom setting which COVID-19 declared impossible which he says would have been of great benefit in preparing students for examinations.

Mapoloko Moroeng, Moroeng’s mother said she believes that her son is prepared because the syllabus they are expected to write on is one that they had already begun learning in their previous academic year.

Mapoloko said she believes examinations would not be too far off what they had been taught.

She further said that she understands that most parents and guardians may find it difficult to pay examination fees prescribed by the council as they have not been working due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Lefoka said for her part, she is under financial distress simply from trying to keep a roof over their heads and food in their homes and said the council was being unfair in their set fees structure is too exorbitant and timing for announcing examinations is wrong.

Seephephe wished that she would have like to hire a tutor for her brother so that he could write these exams but there simply is no money to spare at this time.

Contacted for comment, ECOL’s CEO Mokhitli Khoabane said that he was uncomfortable giving comment over the phone while Minister Ntlhoi Motsamai’s phone rang unanswered.

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