Uneven teacher interaction blamed for poor performance of female learners

Government has raised concern at the poor performance of high school female learners in public examinations a situation it attributed to uneven teacher interaction in class.

In 2019, 4639 girls who sat for their Ordinary Level examinations, only 25.3 percent passed while 3588 boys recorded a 32 percent rate.  

Speaking during the United Nations International Day for Women and Girls in Science on Friday, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Head of STEM subjects in Bulawayo Province Sekai Chikavanga said girls did well in their examinations but they would do better if teachers concentrated on them as they did with boys.

Head of STEM subjects in Bulawayo province Sekai Chikavanga

 Mrs Chikavanga noted that despite girls surpassing their male counterparts in enrolment their performance is lagging behind and their percentages are low as they have chores to attend before they commence their studies at home.

“The girls are a little bit more in numbers than the boys but when you come to the pass rate you will find that the girls are a little bit lower than the boys, girls were at 25,3 percent whilst the boys were at 32 percent. In Biology, girls were 47,64 percent whilst the boys were at 63,27 percent, in Mathematics girls, were 18,99 percent whilst boys were at 25 percent,” said Mrs Chikavanga.

 “We did very well those figures are not bad taking into consideration that before a girl touches a book at home you have to cook, wash plates, clean the house and as a child you also have to rest, you have to play and also watch television whilst you are doing that your brother is resting and after doing all this we perform this way we are quite happy but we do not want to end there.”

She added that in Advanced Level the girls were also almost matching the boys in terms of pass rate.

“In A’ level Physics girls were 52 percent while boys were 56 percent that is more or less the same they did very well, in Chemistry girls recorded 49 percent boys 59 percent, Biology is interesting girls recorded 79 percent boys 68 percent, Pure Mathematics girls 69 percent boys 70 percent we did very well, Mechanics 74 percent and boys 78 percent, Animal Science girls 100 percent boys 75, Crop Science girls 98 percent boys 94 percent, Computer 83 percent boys 6 percent,” said Chikavanga.

Meanwhile, Bulawayo Provincial Education Director (PED) Mrs Olicah Kaira said the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education vowed to pay for school fees for female learners who take up science education to cultivate their interest since most of their parents did not believe in their capabilities.

“The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education committed itself to pay school fees for learners who take science subjects at A’ level but because of the affirmative action the bias was on girls regardless of their physical, emotional, social and mental capabilities,” said Mrs Kaira.

“This gave girls a chance to take up science subjects as well, each had an almost acceptable norm that girls were not competent enough to take up science at that level, the girls, therefore, had problems with the parents who did not believe in their capabilities and as a result were not willing to pay school fees to do sciences as this was considered to be wasted money. With fees paid for by the government, parents will allow girls to take up the science subjects as they would have nothing to lose even if they failed.”  

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