THE drop in the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) 2020 Ordinary Level pass rate by 6,8% from the 2019 rate has raised a red flag on how our education system is gradually deteriorating, an analysis of the 2020 results reflects the level of decline being experienced in our education system.
Statistics show a decline of 11% on the total number of candidates who sat for the examinations. The 11% can only be attributed to some learners who either failed to register or sit for examinations.
Enrolment statistics never dropped. There is a high probability that the candidates, who failed to show up for the examinations, may never have a chance to sit for exams in future. Apart from drop in the national pass rate there was a 10,6% drop in pass rates for girls and 6,5% drop for boys in comparison with the 2019 gender-based pass rates, the changes in the gender-based pass rates are a reminder of gendered inequalities in access to education.
Indeed, there is a crisis in the education sector, the drop in the 2020 pass rate is a sign that the whole system is going down the drain and is producing pseudo graduates.
The poor pass rate can be attributed to poor investment in the education sector by government, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The emergence of the pandemic brought with it lockdowns which crippled the smooth flow of the 2020 academic calendar. Instead of adapting to the lockdown settings by putting in place sustainable mechanism that save our education as a nation. Its shocking that the deficit in the education system has been turned into a blame game by the orchestrators of the prevailing crises in the education sector.
The 2020 Zimsec results are a clear indication that the government is not dedicated to investing in education.
This article serves to absolve teachers of the blame for the mess in the education sector and direct the shortcomings in the education system to the source, below is a list of contributing factors to the quagmire in the education sector particularly the 2020 examinations:
- COVID-19-induced lockdown which saw the 2020 academic calendar being cut short from March 24 until year-end.
- Unavailability of a sustainable scheme to ensure online learning is accessible to all learners, including those from poor backgrounds.
- Learners got trapped in money-making activities together with social immoralities associated with idle minds.
- Government’s insistence in holding examinations despite lack of preparation on the part of leaners.
- Lack of resources in schools to support the new curriculum
- Poor teacher remuneration, current salaries demotivate teachers to diligently offer services.
As Rural Teachers Union in Zimbabwe, we condemn the blame game being played by government. It is tomfoolery to point fingers at teachers over the dismal performance of the 2020 candidates.
We call upon the responsible authorities to act immediately to address the factors contributing to the shortcomings in our beloved education system to resolve the prevailing challenges.