The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) has distanced itself from a collation of Grade 7 results showing a staggering number of schools, especially in Matabeleland, recording zero passes.
Zimsec released the 2020 Grade 7 results on Friday showing a sharp decline in the pass rate from the previous year.
A ranking of schools that has been circulating on social media showed at least 88 schools countrywide recorded zero percent pass rates.
According to the ranking, nine of the top-ranked schools were in Harare while Bulawayo did not have a school in the top 40.
Most of the worst performing schools, with zero percent pass rates, were said to be in Matabeleland.
However, Zimsec spokesperson Nicholette Dhlamini yesterday said the examinations body did not rank the schools according to the results.
“That report circulating on social media did not originate from Zimsec. We don’t rate individual schools, but I can confirm that there was a drop in the pass rate by 9.79% compared to the 2019 results,” Dhlamini told The Standard.
“The global trend due to the Covid-19 pandemic affected all learners in one way or the other, so it would have been expected that there would be a decline because of the situation learners found themselves in.”
On Friday, Zimsec board chairperson Eddy Mwenje said of the 327 559 candidates that sat for the examinations, 167 602 (51.17%) were females while 159 957 (48.83%) were males.
“The 2020 national pass rate is 37,11%, which is lower than the 2019 national pass rate, which was 46,9 %,” Mwenje said.
“This translates to a decrease of 9, 79%.
“The pass rate for female candidates was 39.67% compared to 34.42% for males.
“Indigenous languages recorded a high subject pass rates when compared to performances in English, Mathematics, Agriculture and General Paper.”
The ranking, that has now been disowned by Zimsec, generated a lot of debate on social media. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba posted a screenshot of the purported rankings and immediately put the blame for the alleged poor performance of the students on Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz).
Charamba’s tweet drew the ire of Artuz secretary-general Robson Chere.
“The fact that the administration chooses such an airhead to speak for the president says all about the calibre of the same administration,” Chere said.
“Last year was characterised by total incapacitation of teachers, who at one point were earning less than US$50.
“We agree that teachers play a decisive role in the advancement of education.
“It’s, however, not a secret that educators are not miracle-workers.”
He said the Covid-19 pandemic rendered teaching and learning almost impossible last year and government effected lockdowns with learners spending considerable time at home.
“Artuz was on record advising and even demanding that no exams should be administered for the simple reason that learners did not learn,” Chere said.
A Chinhoyi teacher, Rosten Mtapa, said the writing was on the wall as government decided to ignore calls by unions to address teachers’ welfare.
— The Standard