A’ Level pass rate up, girls outsmart boys

Image #: 13966736 April 12th 2011- Honor roll student Jafari Rooks works in a small group in his classroom at Holy Names Catholic School in North Memphis. Many of the kids come from a difficult home life, so, students are encouraged to work as hard as they can while at school. Homework does not go home with the children because most often "we know it is not going to get done," said Madison Tracy, the schools principal. The Jubilee Schools now operate on a $30 million endowment, serving more than 1,400 mostly non-Catholic and poor students at eight schools (fundraising allowed the addition of two more). Unlike most private, faith- based schools, these schools would accept any students, regardless of test scores, previous academic or behavior records, or a family's ability to pay. Commercial Appeal /Landov

The November 2019 Zimbabwe School Examinations Council’s Advanced Level results are out with girls outsmarting boys, again.

A marginal 1,2 percent increase in the pass rate has been achieved from 81,9 percent in 2018.

The results which were announced by Zimsec board chairman, Professor Eddie Mwenje in Harare yesterday brought a silver lining to the country’s education system as a decline in pass rates was being recorded over the years.

Both the November 2019 Zimsec Grade Seven and the Higher Education Examination Council (Hexco) recorded a decline in pass rates.

The Grade Seven pass rate declined to 46,9 percent in 2019 from 52,08 in 2018, while the Hexco pass rate declined from 74.1 percent in 2018 to 58,3 percent.

Announcing the results, which candidates can now collect from their respective centres or access online, Prof Mwenje said: “The total number of candidates who sat for the November 2019 examination was 51 862. The candidature increased by 5 348 from 46 478 in 2018, which translates to an increase of 11,6 percent.

“In 2019, 50 774 candidates wrote two or more subjects and 42 1 69 obtained Grade E or better in two or more subjects. This translated to 83,1 percent pass rate, an increase of 1,2 percentage points from 81,9 percent as recorded in 2018.”

Public schools had more candidates compared to the mushrooming private schools.

The total number of school candidates was 42 543, of this number 42 157 wrote two or more subjects.

A total of 36 515 candidates obtained Grade E or better in two or more subjects, yielding a pass rate of 86, 6 percent compared to a pass rate of 65,6 percent pass rate recorded by private candidates.

The total number of private candidates was 9 319, while 8 617 wrote two or more subjects.

“The number of school female candidates that set for the 2019 A’ Level examinations was 19 877. Out of this number, 19 689 wrote two or more subjects and 17 525 passed two or more subjects, yielding a 89 percent pass-rate.

“There were 22 666 male candidates and 18 990 passed two or more subjects, translating to 84,5 percent,” said Prof Mwenje.

Special needs candidates were 55 and 35 candidates passed two or more subjects.

While the general pass rate was high, most science subject learners find the going tough and recorded a 31,6 percent pass rate.

“It is important for the nation to note that out of 17 749 candidates who registered to write Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics 5 610 passed two or more subjects with a Grade E or better.

“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education needs to closely look into this area. There could be a number of factors which need further interrogation that could be contributing to this poor performance. We need to closely look at each subject because these are the second results from the recently introduced competency-based curriculum.

“The other contributing factor can be that science subjects require a lot of input and equipment which most schools do not possess,” said Prof Mwenje.

Director of one of Mutare’s leading private schools, First Class Academy, Mr Stephen Mutsongodza, said the increase in this year’s pass rate was welcome news to the education sector.

Mr Mutsongodza also hailed the girl child for going the extra mile in producing better results every year.

“Girls have been doing wonders in schools and they should continue working hard.

“We need more ladies in positions of authority like Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri (Minister of Defence and War Veterans) and Monica Mutsvangwa (Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services), Mrs Chipo Mtasa (TelOne managing director) and Captain Chipo Matimba (a woman pilot)