Zimbabwe health ministry removes O' Level Maths requirement for nurse training


HARARE – In a hushed policy shift, the Ministry of Health and Child Care in Zimbabwe has removed the requirement for an Ordinary Level (O' Level) pass in Mathematics for those seeking to qualify for nurse training. 

Nurses no longer required to have O'level maths pass requirement for training

This move marks a significant departure from the decades-long requirement for prospective nurses to have passed Maths, English, and Science with at least a grade C or better.

The Ministry's latest call for trainee nurses, as advertised in a daily paper last week, makes no mention of the Maths requirement. 

Instead, it stipulates that applicants for the current intake, which closes on April 21, must have "a minimum of 5 O’ Level subjects with passes in English Language and a science subject and three others (excluding practical subjects such as fashion and fabrics, metal work, graphic art, and woodwork) at Grade C or better obtained at not more than two sittings with full certificates as examination result slips are not accepted."

The age limit for applicants is set between 17 and 30 years as of May 13, 2024.

This development comes on the heels of a government ban on indefinite strikes by medical professionals, and amid accusations of a lack of patriotism among the same group. 

Critics express skepticism that the new recruitment criteria could be exploited to fast-track under-qualified youths affiliated with the ruling Zanu PF party into nurse training, a tactic previously observed in army recruitment.

In recent years, hospitals conducting nurse training have expressed dissatisfaction with the centralization of nurse recruitment in Harare, a policy the government now appears to have abandoned. 

Despite this, hospital chiefs maintain that the recruitment of trainee nurses continues to bypass senior medical personnel or chief medical officers at their institutions.

"We just get a list in the end. Now it’s probably going to be a list of people who barely qualify," said one senior doctor at a major referral hospital.

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