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Parly demands report on low Grade 7 exam pass rate

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda has ordered the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Cain Mathema to present a report explaining the drastic decline in the 2020 Grade Seven examination national pass rate by Tuesday next week.

The decision was in response to concerns raised by legislators during the Parliamentary session on the low pass rate attained by several schools with some schools in Matabeleland region recording as low as zero percent.

According to ZIMSEC, the 2020 pass rate is 37,11 percent, which is lower than the 2019 national pass rate, which was 46,9 percent.

The academic year was hugely affected by the Covid-19 induced lockdown after it was prematurely brought to a halt in March in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Schools resorted to conducting lessons online, a development which left out other learners, especially those in rural areas who have no access to the internet or electronic gadgets.

Member of Parliament for Gokwe/Chireya Tondrayi Moyo, queried if there was a government policy which had been put in place to cater for learners who had dismally performed in their examinations.

Moyo’s concern also bordered around the schools which had recorded a zero percent pass rate, inquiring if learners at these schools would be allowed to rewrite their examinations or they would proceed to secondary school.

“My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education in view of the decline in the pass rate of Grade 7 district examinations for 2020 which saw a decline from 46.9% in 2019 to 27.1% in 2020. What is Government policy towards the students and schools that performed dismally in the Grade 7 examinations?  Should they proceed to Form 1 or should they be given a chance to rewrite the examinations and what happens to the schools that performed 0% during the Grade 7 examinations?” queried Moyo.

“What remedial policies will be taken towards those schools, particularly in Matabeleland region that obtained 0%?  What action is going to be taken by the Government on those schools – particularly the teachers who did not perform well, whose students failed dismally?”

Mudenda ruled that Minister Mathema furnishes the August House with a detailed report citing reasons for the drastic fall of the pass rate.

“I am making a ruling. The question asked by Hon. Moyo is of great importance to our education system and it will be fair for the Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to come up with a Ministerial Statement to explain this low pass rate and also those schools where there has been a zero pass – what are the reasons? The nation deserves to know and we expect that statement next week on Tuesday at the latest,” said Mudenda.

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