PRIVATE schools in Bulawayo top-scored in the 2017 Grade Seven public examinations with the province recording an overall 86,9 percent pass rate, almost double the national average of 44,73 percent.
Nine private schools made it into the top 10 in Bulawayo, three of them recording 100 percent pass rates.
Acting Bulawayo Provincial Education Director, Mrs Olicah Kaira said the results were impressive despite the drop from last year’s overall 88,8 percent pass rate.
“We have three schools that attained 100 percent and these are Seventh Day Adventist schools, Fairview Primary and Maranatha Junior School as well as Amazon Primary School.
Others that made it into the top 10 are Induna Primary 98,98 percent, Indlovu Iyanyathela 98,5 percent, Imbizo Garrison 98,5 , ZRP Ross Camp 97,6, Dominican Convent , 96 percent, Centenary 95 percent and Coghlan 94,9 percent,” said Mrs Kaira.
Mrs Kaira said 54 out of 124 schools attained at least 80 percent while none attained a zero percent pass rate.
She said the province has 133 schools in total but nine are special schools and infant schools that do not sit for Grade Seven examinations.
“In 2017 we had a total candidature of 13 698 learners who sat for Grade Seven and our overall pass rate based on units was 86,9 percent and based on subjects was 75 percent. And from our total candidature learners obtaining a total of five points to 30 points from the five subjects were 11 897 which translated to 5 576 boys which was 86, 3 percent and 6 321 girls which was 92,6 percent,” said Mrs Kaira.
She said Bulawayo Metropolitan province has maintained a commendable pass rate of over 80 percent for the past decade.
“We’ve not registered anything less than 80 percent at Grade Seven and for that we are very proud and happy. We’ve attained a good pass rate above the national average. We’re working towards qualitative results because quantitatively we have produced good results”.
Mrs Kaira said despite maintaining the 80 percent-plus pass mark, the pass rate based on units decreased by 1,47 percent from 88,38 percent to 86,9 percent.
“Our target for the year that we had set was 89,67 percent but we were not able to reach that target,” she said.
She said only 57 pupils scored five units from the 13 698 learners that sat for the examinations.
“In comparison to 2016, when we wrote our subjects in four learning areas , we had 366 learners obtaining four units whilst in 2017 we dropped drastically to 57 learners who obtained five units and we are basing that possibly on the introduction of Agriculture as a new examinable learning area.
And given our background of performance, I’m convinced and sure that come 2018 with the strategies that we’re going to put in place like capacitating our teachers in Agriculture we are going to rise and produce more learners who will attain five units, that one I’m sure of,” said Mrs Kaira.
She said overall the province scored 85 percent in Mathematics, English 91,4 percent , Ndebele 91,7 percent , General Paper 81,1 percent , Shona 99 percent and Agriculture 76,9 percent.
Only two schools offer Shona in Bulawayo hence the high pass rate as there are a few pupils who sit for the examination.
“There are a few schools in Bulawayo that offer Shona , if I’m correct , it’s Indlovu Iyanyathela and ZRP Ross Camp. They don’t offer Shona only , they offer both Shona and Ndebele and because of that they have a few learners that write Shona and it translates to 100 percent over the years,” she said.
A majority of the learners sit for isiNdebele. Figures show that 197 pupils – 99 females and 98 males – sat for the Shona paper and 13 501 – 6 955 females and 6 546 males learners – sat for isiNdebele
“And Ndebele scoring 91,7 percent was not bad, that’s a good score,” she said.
Ninety pupils – 65 boys and 25 girls – scored 45 units.
“At Grade seven we don’t really say they have failed completely. They attained 45 units but they will proceed to Form One and because they are still growing up we have discovered that they change when they get to high school. At high school the curriculum is able to spread out according to their performances and potential,” said Mrs Kaira.
The province, she said, is working on achieving a higher pass rate this year.
“As a province we are going to carry on with teacher capacitation not only in Agriculture but across the spectrum though our bias would be towards Agriculture since we didn’t do well in Agriculture and I’m convinced that we are going to turn tables in 2018. We will have more learners who will have quality results who would have attained five units and as a province we’re still happy with our attainment, we’ve done well,” she said.
Sadly, Mrs Kaira said, the province loses some of its best students at Form One as they seek boarding places at schools outside the province despite Bulawayo province having good schools, teachers and resources. She commended the teachers, school heads, school inspectors and support staff for the good work.