The Ministry of Education’s online enrolment system for Form 1 boarding schools has been the centre of attention over the past few days with applicants using it to submit their selection of schools.
In the process, the system has faced technical challenges including a site crash that made the system inaccessible for a few hours on Sunday. This has raised concerns about how the Ministry intends to facilitate applications for parents denied access by such faults plus those without internet.
We reached out to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Dr. Sylvia Utete-Masango to get clarification on this.
According to Dr Utete-Masango, any parent or guardian facing challenges in making an application through the system should approach the school where the pupil sat for their Grade 7 examinations to get assistance on Monday (12 December) morning.
If they can’t get help there the alternative will be the cluster schools which are select schools in specific districts that act as distribution centres for the local examinations body ZIMSEC. These schools have internet access and have been instructed to assist anyone applying.
Regarding the concerns of limited access to internet faced by pupils in outlying areas which have been raised by bodies like the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) Dr Masango has pointed out how online services for education are feasible considering how ZIMSEC public exam registration has been migrated to an online system which has been in use since 2014.
The option to get assistance from schools is likely to be appealing to parents and guardians who either failed to get wind of the online application on time or were in a remote area over the past few days.
However, there is still a likelihood that other frustrated users will still approach schools to physically submit an application especially as the year draws to a close.