BY PRESTIGE MUNTANGA/ARNOLD FANDISO
THE Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec) yesterday released the November 2020 Ordinary Level results, revealing a 6,8% drop in the pass rate compared to 2019.
Zimsec chairperson Eddie Mwenje attributed the low pass rate to the disruption of the normal school calendar by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is important for all stakeholders to note that the 2020 school calendar was disrupted and candidates wrote the examinations under lockdown in 2021. We are grateful to the government for allowing the examinations to go on,” he said.
“In 2020, a total of 184 249 candidates wrote five or more subjects and 45 644 passed five or more subjects with a grade C or better giving an overall pass rate of 24,8%. In 2019, 200 062 wrote five or more subjects and 63 215 obtained grade C or better translating to 31, 6% pass rate.
“The statistics show that the 2020 pass rate decreased by 6,8% from that of 2019. However, a historical analysis indicates that in 2014 a pass rate of 22,4% was recorded while in 2017 we had a pass rate of 28,7%.
“This means that the 2020 results are within range and this is commendable considering the devastating conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also important to note that some countries that went into national lockdown due to the pandemic also experienced a decrease in pass rates,” Mwenje said.
The Zimsec boss said male students fared better at 26,5% pass rate compared to their female counterparts’ 23,7% pass rate, while special needs candidates had an overall pass rate of 21,5%.
Progressive Teachers Union Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said a decrease in the pass rate was expected as pupils did not get enough time to prepare for examinations.
“Children were learning in an environment which was a risk to their health since they did not have enough personal protective equipment. Due to COVID-19, students had to resort to online learning which excluded a lot of children, especially rural students,” Majongwe said.
He also blamed the low pass rate on teachers’ poor working conditions.