Bulawayo City Council-run primary schools excelled in the country`s 2019 national Grade Seven public examinations, with the province taking the top spot, despite a general decline in the pass rate.
According to the local authority, council schools managed to perform satisfactorily, as all the 29 schools scored above the 50 percent pass rate.
“According to government standards which considered aggregate (units) 1-6 as a pass, council standards considered aggregate (units) 1-5 as passes,” read the council minutes.
Mahatshula Primary School reclaimed the first position in the province after having been dethroned for a couple of years.
“The school scored 85.59 percent followed by J. W. Mthimkhulu which scored 82.35 percent. In third position was Ntshamathe, which scored 82.09 percent. Mahatshula was in the fourth position in 2018 with 90.24 percent,” read the latest council minutes.
In the 2018 examinations, four schools had pass rate above 90 percent while J. W. Mthimkhulu was in the third position in 2018 and it climbed to position two in 2019.
Ntshamathe which was first in 2018 dropped to the third position while Malindela experienced a decline, dropping from second position to 13 in 2019.
Mthombowesizwe climbed from position 16 in 2018 to position four in 2019.
“This is very much commendable and it is hoped they maintain this high standard. Another notable climber was Dumezweni who moved from position 27 in 2018 to twelve 12 in 2019,” read the council minutes.
Two schools scored a pass rate below 50 percent, which was Aisleby at 16.96 percent and St Peters – 37.78 percent.
“In 2018 Aisleby was the most improved school having scored 60.87 percent up from 15 percent the previous year. St Peters though was still below the 50 percent pass rate and had done better at 43.14 percent than this year’s performance. A lot was still expected from these disadvantaged peri-urban schools,” council noted.
City council said the most improved school in terms of the pass rate was Dumezweni, which climbed from 65.79 percent to 70.39 percent, showing an improvement of 4.6 percent.
“Senzangakhona had the highest number of learners, seven scoring five units, at one for each examinable subject. Dumezweni had five learners whilst Mafela and Mawaba had four learners each. The top three schools Mahatshula, J. W. Mthimkhulu, Ntshamathe and Senzangakhona will be awarded prizes for their hard work in the Mayor’s Trophy and Provincial Merit Award function traditionally held in June,” said the council.
Council also noted that 2019 went down as a challenging year for the education sector.
“There were a lot of changes that were introduced during the year ranging from re-rating of the bond/ZWL to the USD and the introduction of the Zimbabwean dollar. These changes affected the various projects in the schools as the Bond/Zimbabwean dollar lost value significantly affecting the progress of projects as these were largely dependent on the fees paid.”
Fees were paid to Council and School Development Committees (SDCs) levies were paid directly to the schools but could not suffice to complete the projects which were running as these remained at a standstill but market prices changed in response to the monetary policy changes.
“During the third term a total of $1 544 951 was paid to Council as tuition fees while $3 012 294 was still unpaid for the current and previous terms. Government paid a substantial amount towards clearing the debt for BEAM pupils.
“In 3rd term of 2019 $117063.00 was paid for tuition fees while $95320.00 was paid for the SDC levies. It was hoped that all the outstanding fees of $9 9716 (Council) and $101 743 (SDC) levies would be cleared eventually,” read the council minutes.
The council implored parents to clear their dues as payment delays were affected by inflation.
“Council lost in the value of money when fees which were USD based before the introduction of the ZWL$ midway through the year could not pay for goods and services at par with what could be bought initially. In 2020, it was hoped that the economic condition would stabilise. That would help Council deliver quality and affordable educational services to the stakeholders and residents of Bulawayo”.