Zambia’s successful elimination of 12th grade gap year - a reflection of improved efficiencies at its Examinations Council - ECZ
EXAMINATIONS COUNCIL OF ZAMBIA - ECZ has successfully eliminated 12th grade gap year following a record milestone of announcing results well ahead of time. This has been dubbed a national education system cultural turn - around that if properly utilized, will lead to increased national productivity. ECZ last week on 19 January 2018 announced grade 12 examination results for the pupil stream that sat for November to December 2017 exams.......
• Mathematics, Science and Commercial subjects still a challenge for learners EXAMINATIONS COUNCIL OF ZAMBIA - ECZ has successfully eliminated 12th grade gap year following a record milestone of announcing results well ahead of time. This has been dubbed a national education system cultural turn - around that if properly utilized, will lead to increased national productivity. ECZ last week on 19 January 2018 announced grade 12 examination results for the pupil stream that sat for November to December 2017 exams.
Examination results are used as a pre-requisite for entry into tertiary institutions such as trade schools, colleges and universities. Announcing the breakthrough development at the ministry head offices in Lusaka on Friday 19 January, Minister of General Education Dr. Dennis Wanchinga said that for the first time in the history of Zambia, results have been released in record time that enables some candidates who wrote this examination to enter tertiary institutions without a break of a year or more.
Dr. Wanchinga commended his staff at the Ministry of General Education, Examination Council of Zambia and other stakeholders for their continued hard work and commitment. He said that the training of teachers as examiners last year and the automation of processes as paid off by reducing time used to process the examination results.
The General Education Minister further announced that the number of schools recording 100% passes increased from fifty-one (51) to seventy-three (73) with recently upgraded schools recording good results in Zambian languages, except Chinyanja, Silozi and Chitonga.
At regional or provincial level, the top three (3) provinces in terms of pass rate were Northern, Muchinga and Southern provinces in order of descending rank while the least three constituted Copperbelt, North Western and Western Provinces.
Dr. Wanchinga gave the performance and pass rate per Province as follows: Northern (75.51%); Muchinga (73.29%); Southern (70.06%); Eastern (68.51%); Central (average); Luapula (average); Lusaka (average); Copperbelt; Northwestern; Western (57.64). It is however not clear on how the best results in terms of the percentages of those getting say below 10points, between 10 to 15 points in the best (5) subjects to determine which provinces will contribute more students into nationally prestigious and state subsidized university and college loan schemes which are awarded on merit of the grade 12 results.
At a subject level, the highest mean score was recorded in History (69.66%) while the lowest mean score was in Commerce. The Minister directed the Directorate of Standards and Curriculum to investigate the reasons behind this dismal performance in commercial subjects especially”. The Performance in English, Mathematics, Science and Biology showed an improvement compared to 2016, with Science recording the greatest improvement from 32.83% to 43.58% in 2017. The performance of learners in pure sciences - chemistry and physics and computer studies - was very good at 88.04%, 78.83% and 87.42% respectively. The minister revealed that the best performance by subject grouping is highest in practical subjects, followed by literature and languages, social science, business studies and lastly natural sciences. The lowest performing in this category was mathematics and agricultural science.
Dr. Wanchinga directed that teacher education and specialized services unit be called upon to “investigate why the two subjects are proving to be a challenge to our learners”. He further urged his Provincial Education Officers – PEO’s, District Education Board Secretaries - DEBSs, and Head Teachers to intensify implementation of school based assessments and internal monitoring.
Zambia’s Education System is relatively rated highly within the SADC region but now needs to extend its benchmarking to compare with across Africa and global standards. Zambia’s General Certificate of Education - GCE is internationally recognized though not highly rated. The test of the quality of an education system is in its youth literacy rates according to the UNICEF.
Zambia’s last listed literacy rate according to UNICEF is at 64%, this is way lower when compared to even peer countries such as Zimbabwe which is ranked at 91%, Ghana at 86%, Kenya at 82%. A report by the British council in 2013 put Zambia’s literacy rate at 70.6%, making Zambia to be 25th out of 54 African countries.
Minister of General Education Dr. Dennis Wanchinga