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Ministry of Education takes unnecessary risks with rushed electronic enrolment system for Form 1

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In 2015 the Minister of Education, Lazarus Dokora, announced that the government would be enforcing a new system for the application of Form 1 (High School) places that relies on Grade 7 results from the national public examinations.

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This new system was meant to replace the entrance tests method used by a large number of schools across Zimbabwe.

Fast forward to 2016 and the Ministry of Education has reminded parents and guardians that the same process which relies on Grade 7 results will be used for pupils looking to secure places for 2017.

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The one major difference is that parents looking to secure boarding school places for their kids will use an online e-application system.

It’s called the electronic Ministry Application Platform (eMAP) and it is expected to be used on the one day (16 December 2016) that the government has selected for boarding school enrolment.

How will it work?

According to the information communicated to the media by Dokora so far, all Grade 7 pupils including prospective boarders are supposed to collect a clearance letter from their previous school as a prerequisite for applying for a place for Form 1.

On the day for enrolment, they are then supposed to log onto the web-based platform and fill out an electronic form carrying their key details specifying the three schools of their choice.

This form will then be sent to the specific schools. Feedback on the outcome of the application will be sent to the applicants via SMS within three days (by the 19th of December).

On the 20th of December, the Government will then conclude all enrollment for day and boarding school.

A leap for “efficiency” that looks and feels clumsy

It’s hardly surprising that this e-enrolment approach has triggered some heated debates (on social media and offline) on whether or not it makes sense.

Arguments for it – which have also been presented by Dokora – are fairly straight forward. The Ministry is providing a cost-effective way to apply to the three schools that you want to send your child to just by tapping in details online.

Material resources and time are saved and the evil monster of corruption that has become part of the Form 1 enrollment process is also supposedly dealt with. Technology comes off as the solution provider that it’s supposed to be. It sounds like great idea.

However, there are holes in this process and the use of this system carries risks that could create a lot of complications for parents and guardians.

The biggest issue is the fact that this system which is supposed to give every prospective boarder a fair chance at applying to schools is an internet based system. Broadband isn’t free and access is also affected by factors like the availability of hardware.

With a little over a week to go until the big day, the Ministry is yet to propose how all applicants will be accommodated in this regard especially in the marginalised areas where there is likely to be a greater concentration of beneficiaries of a fair application system.

Another consideration is how this system, as far as government’s communication on this new approach is concerned, will be introduced to the public for use on just one day without any information shared or awareness created on how it works.

There also hasn’t been any indication of whether this system was trialled anywhere and put through tests, something that is a major concern seeing that it is set for its debut just weeks before schools open.

If there are technical challenges encountered at any stage – be it during data capture, collation or even at the feedback stage – this will create complications for parents and guardians who will need to make hurried decisions as the new school term approaches.

While all these risks are related to system deployment the underlying complication is the fact that the enrollment process has been earmarked for one single day which is precariously close to the start of the new term.

If you add a new system into that mix the result is a software project management landmine fill with every possible benefit created by the system and its proposed tech efficiency drowned out by all these risks.

An unnecessarily rushed approach

According to the Ministry of Education, there were 329,549 Grade 7 pupils in the 2016 and from this group, only 24,000 will have a chance to go to boarding school.

Minister Dokora has called boarding school a luxury and reiterated the fact that local schools can absorb all the other applicants that don’t get one of the limited spaces.

With such numbers in play, boarding school is marked as an option for a privileged few. However, the parents that want to and can send their children to boarding school shouldn’t be subjected to a rushed system with potential complications because of this.

The introduction of such a system that has such a major implication on the enrolment process could have been done under less strenuous conditions.

The hope is that all the pupils who want to go to boarding will have a fair chance to secure a place and that the system that has been proposed will work.

Perhaps there will be more information shared in the next 7 days, or maybe the resources needed for its deployment will be released and some adjustments will be made to the enrolment schedule. For now, though, it looks like Government is taking a huge and unnecessary risk.

66 thoughts on “Ministry of Education takes unnecessary risks with rushed electronic enrolment system for Form 1

  1. You talk about broadband being costly as if traveling to a boarding school is free! One dollar for 1 hour in an internet cafe or 250mb of Econet data and you apply for 3 schools at once vs traveling to three schools one by one. Come on, don’t be stupid.

    1. Then what happens if you don’t get a response from those three schools… and enrollment has been “closed”… you roam the whole country looking for a place…!!!?

    2. dude pasina izvozvo do you know the pass rates. meeting with other pple telling you tht such an such a school is accepting 7 units is great..

    3. You can afford to part with a dollar because you are part of the privileged few. It is not so with everyone in Zim.

  2. ..and imagine, the latest news on the Ministry of Education site are 2014 June results…. and we trust this Dokora guy…

    1. ministry need to do more homework. i could go on and on but where ignorance as regards system deployment is evident its a waste. do enough consultations before exposing yourselves guys

  3. Ko mwana arikuchetwa naGogo, iye airambidzwa kuita cellphone achinzi uchirimudiki. apa varikwaGumbonzwanda. kkkk

    Ndofunga it must be the responsibility of all Primary Schools to provide assistance pavanongouya kuzotora ma results avo.

      1. Sha nothing is working at all..The Sever is at Telone, what do we expect from Telone, their service is pathetic.
        197.221.234.253 is hosted by TELONESnap of 197.221.234.253
        Hosting provider: TELONE
        WHOIS: Click Here
        IP Address: 197.221.234.253
        The School heads do not even know how to use a computer and do not even have internet connection within the rural and no infrastructure.. Is the Ministry being driven by someone who is well versed. Whee do we go from here.. Zvakaoma..

  4. This is Rubbish, the latest news on this ministry is about 2014 O & A Level results, today we are in 2016, someone is just there to cause confusion only.

  5. 1..My concerns there are places in Zimbabwe where power cuts lasts a whole day what fairness is there for a child in these areas,
    2..Unnecessary addition of work for primary headmasters on clearance letters and moving the corruption to primary schools as some results are being held over new levies that were only introduced this term, (wonder why the Ministry introduces new levies in the last term of the year)
    3..At times Zimbabwe’s networks malfunction due to congestion and at times it drops, can this website cope in a one day hectic, not sure whether it has been tested at all
    4..Does this system include all secondary schools, (Government, Missionary, Church, Company, ZRP, ARMY, Private) some of these schools have different considerations
    5..Some schools do not have websites to get information parents need,Some information is also needed about the schools that are being proposed, like fee structures, religious beliefs, (reminder Minister was recently being sued for segregation on religious grounds) forcing some schools to enforce their religious beliefs on students recruitment

  6. The website is giving problems to get the form to fill. I think paifanirwa kupiwa dzidziso to the whole nation before introducing a new system from nowhere. Please assist us ASAP.

  7. While most of us are busy complaining n downvoting this stuff online, others are readjusting to these new changes n looking for ways to make a buck out of it. This is the Zimbabwe we live in. You’ve realized pane market yaanaGogo vasiri tech-savvy n coincidentally, you’ll be going kumusha for holidays. Vamwe vangatoita borrow a laptop votonotanga kuita charge ppl from around their area kumamisha to give them the information to be captured on the 16th wacho. Or, you cld buy whatsapp bundles, take photos of the filled in forms with details, send them to a friend who will then upload the details on the day. Considering how these people would probably have saved money yekunotsvaga nzvimbo yeForm 1, you will get paid mostly in money or in kind (unless kana ikokowo makombi nemabhazi achibhadharwa in kind)

  8. I have tried http://www.emap.ac.zw its not working.Website yacho chaiyo vachai launcher musi wa 16 Dec here.If I fail to secure a boarding place for my child by 19 Dec 2016, will my Child be automatically considered for enrolment into a day School ?

  9. Tiudzei zvakazara,this system ndeye boarding chete here or both ne day.handisi kumbozvinzwisisa.

  10. tipei website that will direct us kumaforms acho not kungotipa mawebsite ariempty hey you dokora kana zvaramba better try it pama GR7 enext year maybe unogona kuita luck

  11. When are you going to avail the e-application forms on your EMPAP website? They may be need to ensure that parents are familiar with what is required in these forms well in advance? Who will be doing the selections-ministry officials or headmasters?

  12. I Have tried the website which is said to be live but its failing to prompt me to all the stages to allow me to create the account for me make the application. Seriously is this web really live and working or the actual website for application will be launched on the 16th of Dec

  13. What happens if my child does not get a place from the 3 choices we want? Does it mean they will select another school for me or what?

  14. I am here in the United Kingdom and struggling to register as well. I don’t think its anything to do with your internet there, it is the website. I Have tried internet in my house, on my mobile phone and I had to drive to my work place thought my internet wasn’t working but still can’t register.

  15. Haisikuita website yacho from morning yaramba. Yakuti yu dont hve permission to access this page. Ndodii ini ndagumirwa. Zvinhu zvetrial and error, haaa ma1

  16. Does it mean vana vedu avana nzvimbo here? Can’t even do anything to do nenyaya yechi website ichi nxa..

  17. I only managed to create an acc ystdy up to 12 midnight after a long struggle. Had to wake up kuma4 to complete the process. Only managed to apply to 3 skuls bt 4-7 skuls dzavaakutaura hadzichaite. Yaakuti u r only allowed to apply to 3 skuls

  18. it doesn’t work. I am still trying to apply since yesterday but to no avail. kuitwa matutununu chaiko. they should communicate to the public so that we know way forward

  19. minister zvinhu zvenyu hazvisi kuita madii kuzviita fo next makanonoka kuzvifunga don’t de difficult kudaro

  20. An evil system, designed to make the poor suffer more,, an evil minister , an evil government ,, where has this worked,,

  21. greetings .im very new to this site.so i heard i can look for my kids school place i need some help on tht

  22. isu yakatifambira I think lets support the minister and curb corruption, don’t b part of it. the system worked for several parents that I know ngazviende mberi, especially with a bit of improvement, nezuro chaiye somebody applied tday accepted by a school in Gutu. thumbs up.

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