Patrick Chitumba Senior Reporter—
THE Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Lazarus Dokora, has defended examination performances by schools in Matabeleland saying the region was on the positive track. Only 10 secondary schools from Matabeleland region made it into the top 100 in the 2013 Ordinary Level examinations.
Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South combined performed poorly compared to their neighbours, Masvingo and Midlands provinces, which had 13 and nine schools respectively in the top 100.
However, Dr Dokora said after analysing last year’s examination results from all the provinces, the worst district which failed to provide many students with at least three ordinary passes as per the Civil Service Commission threshold was Hurungwe in Mashonaland West province.
He said candidates in 19 schools in the district failed to get five O’ levels as per the CSC threshold.
“I want to debunk the theory that such a failure is endemic in the given provinces or districts. We have done a thorough analysis on examination results for last year. For example, we said let’s look at five credits cut-off point limit for the CSC and looked at the four, three cut-off point and said, which district was unable to field candidates in the 2013 examination and get its candidates five credits at O’level. That district is not in Matabeleland North province or Matabeleland South or Bulawayo Metropolitan. It is in Mashonaland West in Hurungwe where they have 19 schools that failed to get any of their candidates to get to the CSC threshold. It means their candidates started getting credits from four subjects, three subjects and in your reports you made it sound like failure was endemic here,” said Dr Dokora.
He said he was against the use of the word “failure” by the media adding that most of the schools were producing candidates with passes according to Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) threshold.
“I refuse the use of the word ‘failure,’ because you are regarding your colleagues as having failed while they haven’t, rather talk of credits adding that five O’ level target was a requirement to any form of training. There are those who wish to go to universities or colleges, they should work towards getting the required grades. And there are those who are working as agricultural extension officers, that does not require “C” or Better and there are many avenues candidates can follow,” said Dr Dokora.
Zimsec director Esau Nhandara concurred with Dr Dokora saying Zimbabweans regarded an ‘E’ and a ‘D’ as a failure yet it was a pass. He said a pass has tended to be a “C” but technically a pass was a “D” and an “E”.
“As Zimsec we certificate a candidate who even has an ‘E’ not just a ‘C.’ But Zimbabweans are not regarding those grades as passes because according to the CSC, you will not be taken for any training if you have a ‘D’ or an ‘E’ since they demand ‘C’ or better,” he said.
A total of 173,856 candidates sat for five and above subjects with 36,031 attaining five or more subjects with Grade ‘C’ or better.