Saturday 5 March 2022


 A TOTAL of 51 primary schools in Matabeleland North recorded zero percent pass rate in the 2021 Grade Seven public examinations.

The number, according to the statistics seen by Sunday News, was a slight improvement from 2020 when a whopping 85 schools in the province recorded zero percent pass rate.

According to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education grading, if a pupil obtains seven units and above per subject it is considered a fail, while six units and below is considered a pass.

The statistics showed that most satellite schools in the province are in the zero percent pass rate bracket – 20 satellite recording zero, while 31 registered schools also recorded zero percent pass rates.

The 20 satellite schools that recorded the zero percent pass rates were a huge leap from only two recorded in the 2020 Grade Seven public examinations.

Last year’s figure was anchored by registered institutions, with 83 schools recording zero percent pass rates.

According to the statistics, the largest number of schools that preformed dismally last year were in Bubi where 14 schools recorded zero percent pass rates.

Ten of these were satellite schools while four were registered schools

The second most affected district was Lupane with 13 schools obtaining zero percent pass rate (12 registered and one satellite).

The figures showed that Binga, which has traditionally performed poorly over the years, had the least number of schools with zero percent pass rates; only one.

In terms of overall pass rate, the province recorded 38.48 percent based on units and 22.36 percent based on subjects.

The pass rate was below the national figure of 41.3 percent announced by the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council when results were released last month.

According to Zimsec, the total number of candidates who sat for the 2021 Grade 7 examinations was 325 573, which was a 0.6 percent decrease from the 2020 entry of 327 559.

Director of Advocacy and Communication in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mr Taungana Ndoro confirmed the Matabeleland North Grade seven results trend.

He said while the figures might indicate a worrying trend, the Government was  encouraged by the improve in pass rate in the province and expected even better performance as issues that had been affecting schooling in the province are addressed.

He said while some people might see satellite schools as under performing, there were a good idea meant to reduce distance to access to education.

“In some provinces, learners at satellite schools are actually performing better than those at the mother schools.

We are encouraged by the increased pass rate in Matabeleland North province and going forward we envisage further improvement,” he said.

The under-performance at schools in the province have over the years come under scrutiny with stakeholders pointing to a cocktail of problems that affect the effective delivery of education.

The main challenge, according to experts, has been the human capital challenge. Most schools have a shortage of teachers as they shun them due to poor infrastructure.

At some schools, the few teachers are forced to teach many grades due to staff shortage.

 A few years ago, Sunday News reported that at one school in the province, villagers had taken over the running of the school after all the teachers deserted the institution.

Pupils are also reportedly absconding lessons due to long distance they have to travel to nearest institutions.

Other schools also have a shortage of textbooks and poor accommodation facilities for teachers.

At one time, officials from the Matabeleland North Provincial Education office noted that every term they were receiving as many as 300 applications from teachers seeking to transfer from the province, especially from Binga.

Some of the teachers are also not comfortable teaching in some parts of the province due to language barriers, but the Government has addressed the issue by setting a primary training college in Hwange which is specifically targeted at training teachers to meet the province’s needs.

Meanwhile, statistics for Matabeleland South only showed that pass rate in the province has been fluctuating over the years. 

Based on units, the province recorded 51.41 percent pass rate up from the 2020 figure of 40.20 percent.

In 2019, the rate was 54.43, in 2018, it was 56.90, in 2017 it was 49.39, and in 2016 it was 52.44

The figures showed that in terms of subjects the province recorded 34.5 percent up from 26.15 in 2020. 

In 2019 the province recorded 39.65 percent, in 2018 it was 43, 5 percent, and in 2017 it was 36.18 while in 2016 it was 35.66.  Sunday News


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