The examination council is passing the buck as teachers lament delayed payment by the state.
The Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec) – the body in charge of setting national ordinary-level and advanced-level examinations – is struggling to pay teachers who marked the ordinary (O) level tests which students did in November last year.
O-level examination markers were each supposed to get between $350 to $700, depending on the number of scripts they marked.
“We have not received anything from Zimsec. We had been promised that our payments would be made available within a week after the marking exercise, but three months down the line nothing is forthcoming,” said a marker who didn’t want to be named. “We have been getting in touch with the examinations board, but now we are tired since we are always told that the money is not yet ready,” said the marker.
The examination markers were supposed to be paid in November last year immediately after finishing the marking of the O-level examinations.
Although Zimsec’s national executive could not comment immediately, Masvingo Zimsec regional boss Silverson Dandira said: “We are just waiting for the money to be given to us by the government. As things stand we cannot do anything because there is no money.”
Another Zimsec official, who requested anonymity said: “We have never been financially sound over the years and the government is well aware of our plight.”
He added: “We can only perform our mandate professionally if government gives us the necessary funds. As we speak right now, we are in the red and we hope government will realise the need to fund us adequately.”
Contacted for comment, Education Minister Lazarus Dokora said he was not clear on the details regarding the payment.
“I have to find out before I comment on the issue,” said Dokora, who had not gotten back to the Mail & Guardian by the time of going to press.
The president of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Takavafira Zhou, condemned the nonpayment of markers and said it would now be necessary for teachers to sign contracts with the examinations board before committing themselves to marking.
“There should be contracts to avoid such incidents and we are saying once there is a binding contract nothing of this sort would happen,” said Zhou.
This is not the first time markers have gone without payment.
Last year, some grade 7 examination markers said they were paid as little as $1 a script after the marking exercise.
Zimsec said the markers should not cry foul as they knew very well that grade 7 pupils did not pay examination fees. – CAJ News