ONGOING industrial action by the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec) staff is set to delay the marking of last month’s “O” Level examinations as well as the processing of the November tests.
Zimsec employees told the Zimbabwe Independent that most workers were not reporting for duty claiming that they could not raise money for transport.
This, the workers said, had affected operations at the country’s examination body.
The lowest paid employee earns $50 billion monthly, which includes housing and transport allowances.
“It is not enough to buy a loaf of bread, but I am expected to survive on that the whole month,” an employee who requested anonymity said. “There are very few people in the offices; the situation is terrible and there is a huge backlog of work that will delay the processing of November examinations and even the marking of June tests will be delayed.”
A member of the Zimsec workers’ committee accused the body’s management of being insensitive to their plight.
He said efforts to engage Zimsec’s human resources department were in vain after their request for a meeting was turned down.
In a memorandum addressed to Zimsec assistant director (human resources), Joyman Thabete, the workers wrote: “Please be advised that we made frantic efforts to discuss with you but failed because you were evasive…We as workers’ committee wanted to inform you that our members were no longer able to come to work as from Wednesday 9 July 2008.”
The workers claimed that the body was insensitive to their plight.
“We know Zimsec has money, but it invested it in cars, which are yet to be delivered at the expense of the workers’ plight,” the committee member said. “This (stayaway) has affected the processing of November Ordinary and Advanced level examinations. As we speak right now, schools have not yet received statements of entries for sitting students so that they go through them and correct whatever mistakes and send them back to Zimsec for correction, something that should have been done way back.”
The workers’ committee member said besides that, the body’s OMR machine that scans and captures candidates’ information was not working.
“There are very few people who are working and it’s mainly the security staff and other management who will be encoding the June exams for marking. This backlog will put a lot of pressure on the staff if things return to normal. Such work will have to be done in the evenings and in the end a lot of mistakes will be made,” he added.
By Wongai Zhangazha