IT is without doubt that Covid-19 brought new challenges not only to Zimbabwe but the rest of the world.
In education, school has been disrupted and online learning is now the in thing.
Fortunately for Zimbabweans, Government quickly adapted and was up to the challenges posed by the global pandemic.
As a result of meticulous planning, lessons continued partly physically, online and through radio. 2020 Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) exams also went on well.
This was particularly important in that the academic year was not disrupted. Students in exam and non-exam classes all managed to progress to the next stage.
Government refused to let their lives get disrupted by Covid-19 to the extent that their education had to be put on hold.
And in the midst of all these challenges, which include a long strike by teachers, Bulawayo province produced the best results in the 2020 Grade Seven examinations.
Although the country’s Grade Seven pass rate dropped from 46,9 percent in 2019 to 37,11 percent last year, this was a fair result when all the challenges are put into perspective.
Bulawayo recorded a 66,8 percent pass rate, dropping from 79 percent recorded in 2019, while Harare had the second-best results at 66,5 percent pass rate also dropping from 73 percent recorded in 2019.
Sadly, the two metropolitan provinces are the only ones that attained above 50 percent pass rate in 2020 as other provinces recorded between 15,9 percent and 38 percent pass rate.
This could be attributed to the accessibility of the internet in rural areas. Schools in Bulawayo and Harare could easily be better prepared for online learning than schools in the other provinces.
This is a good lesson for Government which has been working on boosting the country’ Information Communication Technology capacity and status as a regional communications hub.
President Mnangagwa in 2019 commissioned the US$23,6 million National Backbone Fibre Link in Beitbridge, a link which will reduce TelOne operating costs by 40 percent and this benefit is expected to cascade to consumers.
With access to the internet, learners in the country’s eight provinces outside of the major metropolis will definitely perform better. The internet is not just for online lessons but is good for research.
As has been reported before, preparations continue for the inevitable reopening of schools with Covid-19 control measures informed by World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
Speaking at a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said there was collaboration between the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Health and Child Care to set the stage for the classes’ resumption.
We commend Government for pressing ahead with education, which is an integral part of development. All the other problems leading to a low pass rate in Grade Seven exams can be dealt with as we go.