TWENTY-NINE primary schools in Matabeleland North province recorded zero percent pass rate in the 2017 Grade Seven public examinations, a slight improvement from 31 schools last year.
Matabeleland North deputy director responsible for primary education, Mrs Beatrice Manjere said the schools were drawn from various districts in the province and were facing a plethora of challenges among them staff and learning equipment shortages.
“You will realise that most of these schools are satellite schools in resettlement areas particularly in Bubi and Umguza districts and these do not have adequate infrastructure, learning materials and teachers. This really affects the quality of education.
“Some classes are combined due to teacher shortages. You will find a teacher taking two classes at once. This is a skill which can only be done by experienced teachers. Some schools require seven teachers but you will find that they have four or five teachers which would then force them to combine classes,” said Mrs Manjere.
She said although 230 permanent teachers were employed and deployed to their province there was still a deficit of about 300 teachers.
The province with 590 schools recorded an overall 25,77 percent pass rate based on subjects up from 24, 74 percent in 2016.
“Our target for the province was 25 percent and we slightly surpassed it which shows that there is room for improvement. We think that the number of pupils with five units dropped from last year’s 51 due to the introduction of Agriculture and we are working on that,” said Mrs Manjere.
She said only 20 pupils scored five units from the 20 291 learners that sat for the examinations last year.
“In 2017 we had a total candidature of 20 291 learners who sat for Grade Seven and our overall pass rate based on units was 37,75 percent and based on subjects was 25, 71 percent. And from our total candidature learners obtaining a total of five points to 30 points from the five subjects were 7 659 which translated to 3 051 boys and 4 608 girls,” said Mrs Manjere.
Nine private schools made it into the top 10 in Matabeleland North province, four of them recording 100 percent pass rates.
“We have four schools that attained 100 percent pass rate namely Coalfields, Kings, AD Junior and Victory Education Centre.
“Others that made it into the top ten were Seventh Day Adventist run-Mtshibili Primary school with 94,23 percent, Main Camp which leapt from 43 percent in 2016 to 93,75 percent together with Peace Primary School recording the same percentage, Zesa-run Megawatt recorded 91,43 percent, Government run Thomas Coulter scored 89,42 percent and Gloag Range in Bubi recorded 88,24 percent,” said Mrs Manjere.
She said schools in Tsholotsho that were affected by the floods last year registered poor performances.
“We have Sipepa Primary School which dropped from 28, 64 percent to 19 percent, Mahlaba 18, 8 percent to 13,33 percent and Mathuphula improved from 12,8 to 15,22 percent. Although some of the pupils were moved into other schools, we separated their results so that we could analyse them individually,” said Mrs Manjere.
She said overall the province scored 39,27 percent in English, 37,72 percent in Mathematics, 74,14 percent in IsiNdebele, 36,36 percent in General Paper, 31,95 percent in Agriculture, 69,16 in percent Tonga, 94,74 percent in Shona and 77,69 percent in Nambya.
Mrs Manjere said a total of 16 043 sat for IsiNdebele, 3 875 for Tonga, 354 wrote Nambya and 19 sat for Shona.
She said Government would soon construct 11 new schools in the province, eight primary schools and three secondary schools.
Acting Provincial Education Director Mr Jabulani Mpofu said an audit of the results would be carried out.
“We will be meeting all schools heads, analysing results and working on weak areas. We will be checking why the schools recorded a zero percent pass rate and finding solutions. We want to redeem Mat North, we are saying no to zero percent pass rate in our schools.
“We have been on number 10 (out of 10 provinces) for the past three years and we are working on improving. We are also working on the schools’ feeding programme so that we retain pupils in schools as a drought is looming,” said Mr Mpofu.