THE Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) has extended the registration period for Grade 7, Ordinary and Advanced Level candidates to next Friday giving examination centres a weeklong window to mop-up the exercise.
This comes as school authorities struggled to register candidates yesterday after the Zimsec system reportedly stopped accepting new entries on Thursday night.
School authorities panicked fearing that multitudes of candidates would fail to register as there are significant numbers that had not finished the registration process.
The registration window for the examinations opened on Friday last week and was supposed to end yesterday before Zimsec extended by a further week.
In an interview, Zimsec spokesperson Ms Nicky Dlamini said the system failure was a security measure and when it reopens, payments done in local currency will be pegged at the exchange rate of $488 to US$1.
“As we speak I am sending out communication that we have opened up a new window from the 1st to the 5th of August. Those who are still to make payments can use that window and this period is for payment and registration and centres must not close now. For those who will pay in RTGS the rate will be $488 to US$1,” said Ms Dlamini.
She said school authorities had been trained on using the Zimsec online system and should not struggle posting their data.
Commenting on the system failure yesterday, Ms Dlamini said: “The system does that. It’s a security measure and when it reopens the new rate will apply.”
Schools authorities that spoke to Chronicle yesterday said they panicked after realising that the online system was not working.
Some had resorted to the manual system to enter candidates’ details waiting for the way forward.
The examination fees, which are subsidised by Government, are pegged in US$ with parents or guardians forking out US$10 per subject for Grade 7 while the fees for O and A-level candidates is US$11 and US$22 per subject respectively.
Payments must be made into the ZWL accounts which Zimsec communicated to the centres.
United States dollar and rand payments are accepted via direct deposits through centres into the accounts which Zimsec communicated to the centres.
Zimsec continues to accept examination fees in the currency paid by the parent or guardian to the centres.
Centres are therefore encouraged to transmit examination fees in the currency which the parents or guardians paid the fees, Zimsec said recently in a statement.
The Government is subsidising examination fees for learners in public schools, local authority schools and non-profit mission schools by 55 percent.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Evelyn Ndlovu recently told Parliament that plans were in place to ensure that every prospective candidate registers for exams.
She said it is illegal for schools to insist on payment of fees arrears before registration for public examinations which may result in some candidates missing the examination deadline.