GRADE Nine pupils in public schools sitting for practical final examinations in computer studies were on Monday forced to write in the night while others only sat for the paper yesterday morning due to power outages and inadequate computers.
The power situation worsened the situation where some schools experienced power outages at the time the pupils were about to start the exams.
In some schools in Lusaka, pupils who were scheduled to sit for Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) exams were only writing around 22:00 hours.
General Education Ministry spokesperson Hillary Chipango apologised to parents and the learners for the inconvenience.
Mr Chipango said the ministry had no intention of forcing the pupils conducting their practical examinations beyond the stipulated timeframe.
“The delay in writing the examinations was due to inadequate computers in some schools while other schools were load-shedded during the time the pupils were supposed to have been writing examinations,” Mr Chipango said.
“We are appealing for calm, and we would like to assure the parents and the learners that computer studies practical examinations would not be used to determine qualification to grade 10,” he said.
He said the ministry had put in place measures to ensure that the next examinations would be effectively conducted.
Zambia National Union of Teachers (ZNUT) president Newman Bubala said the chaos in the manner the examinations were conducted by the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ) could have been avoided if Government heed to the union’s advice.
The unions had advised Government that the introduction of the computer studies as a compulsory subject was not workable as most schools did not have material to use.
“This is a disaster and a total mockery to make the subject compulsory, when there are no materials in most schools and some children in rural areas have never seen these computers they were seeing them for the first time,” he said.
He appealed for the streamlining of the subjects to allow only schools with computers to conduct the exams while making optional for those that did not have.