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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Zimbabwe School Examination Pass Rate Drops With Over 9 Per Cent

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Tafadzwa Mwanengureni
Tafadzwa Mwanengureni
I am a student journalist at Harare Polytechnic majoring in print journalism

ZIMBABWE: It was with no doubt that Zimbabwe School Examination (ZIMSEC) pass rate would drop due to new normal predicaments brought by COVID-19.

2020 Grade 7 national pass rate has declined by nearly 10% from that of 2019.

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In a statement, ZIMSEC notes that “The 2020 national pass rate is 37.11% which is lower than the 2019 national pass rate which was 46.9%. This translates to a decrease of 9.79% in the pass rate”.

Also read: Parents Blame Government Amid Children’s Misbehavior At Schools

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88 rural schools have recorded a 0% pass rate in which most of them are rural.

COVID-19 spiralled the already crippled sector where several factors need to be addressed.

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Despite Zimbabwe ranking fourth position in Maths and Science in Africa behind Ivory Coast, Mauritius and Tunisia, there is a learning gap between rural and urban students.

Other factors contributed to low pass rate

Ongoing misunderstandings between teachers and the government has left school children vulnerable to any decision made.

Incapacitation of teachers has led children sit for exams without fully equipped as educators refused to report on duty.

Also read: Teachers Refuse To Return To Classrooms; $35USD/Month Cannot Meet Basic Needs

Therefore, teachers blamed the government towards low national pass rate.Zimbabwe Rural Teachers Union(ZRTUZ) Vice President Gibson Mushangu told Transcontinental Times that the results are a total disgrace and its evident  that education system is taking a nose dive in its standards.

 “As stakeholders,  we had advised the Ministry of education to forego 2020 academic calendar and suspend these examinations to pave way for teachers to consolidate the syllabus in any agreed designed form but it was not the same perception with the policy makers.

 “At one point in time, teachers were incapacitated citing low remuneration to take care of their welfare. The interventions to address the incapacitation were not swift, resulting in loss of learning time for learners”, he said. 

Nevertheless, he advised continuous engagement between the Ministry and all educational stakeholders in coming up with the possible ways to ensuring quality education in the country.

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Solidarity call against the government

A statement, Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union Zimbabwe called citizens to join hands in running a #SaveOurEducationZW campaign which seeks to redress the failures by authorities to make the education sector sound and quality guaranteed.

“The governing authority is elitist in approach and they have the comfort of sending their children to elite schools where they get elite treatment and elitist education whilst the majority exist in abject poverty and their concerns are swept under the carpet.

“The government of Zimbabwe has long since abdicated its responsibility of providing quality education through years of neglect and ill management and what is more worrisome is how senior government officials like one George Charamba (Presidential Spokesperson) are taking to social media accusing rural teachers under Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe of being responsible for the poor pass rate in rural areas”, the statement read.

The call for the campaign was ignited after the Presidential Spokesperson George Charamba labelled teachers unions (ARTUZ and PTUZ) as ‘criminals’ and their members ‘desultory’ because they have blamed the government’s ignorance of rural infrastructure citing it as one of the factors contributed to low pass rate.

ARTUZ response to the blame by government officials

In response ARTUZ wrote,”ARTUZ wishes to categorically state that we will not sit and watch the baby being thrown away with the bath water.

“Mr Charamba’s statements are not only regrettable but pathetic, reckless and show a government out of touch with real issues affecting the Zimbabwean”.

Poor infrastructure in rural schools

Most rural schools are poorly equipped in terms of infrastructure and staff. 

2018 report by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) shows that  45.04% of primary schools have no electricity.

Absence of electricity constitutes inequalities in access to education as those in urban are advanced.

This dismiss the fact that rural folks constitute a high enrolment in schools as noted by MoPSE.

Whilst others were learning online, rural children didn’t attend lessons as most parents couldn’t afford adaptive devices to learn online.

It is sad to note that even national events  urban students are picked to even represent those in rural areas but without practical knowledge of what their fellows are experiencing.

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