TEACHERS’ unions are disappointed with the low pass rate of pupils who sat for the 2014 grade 12 examinations.
The unions note that although there was an increase in the number of pupils who sat for the examinations, compared to 2013, the results are unimpressive.
Zambia National Union of Teachers (ZNUT) director of research and information Christopher Yalukanda said the drop in the pass rate can be greatly attributed to the abolishing of tuition centres fees by Government in 2013.
“Pupils currently do not have an opportunity to attend extra lessons if they do not understand what they are taught at school because of the directive that was issued,” he said.
Mr Yalukanda said in an interview that problems with not completing the syllabuses was another contributing factor. This was caused by the adjustment of the pupils’ academic calendar by the Ministry of Education.
“The final exams where brought forward to October, this new time framework is not conducive for the pupils to adequately prepare. Parents are also to blame because they are not doing enough to advise their children on the importance of education,” he said.
Mr Yalukanda said low motivation among teachers is also a contributing factor.
“The wage freeze and difficulties in getting their entitlements has demotivated the teachers, who have in a way become relaxed towards performing their duties,” he said.
Secondary School Teachers Union secretary-general Emmanuel Zulu said the lack of quality results for pupils accepted to grade 10 is a major contributor to the decline in the pass rate.
Mr Zulu said pupils cross over with “very mediocre results” based on merely acquiring a certificate.
“This is not good at all because the result is what we are witnessing now. The other problem is the inadequacy of learning materials in schools and poor infrastructure, especially in rural areas,” he said.
And Basic Education Teachers Union director of research Stanley Mhango blamed the mushrooming of private schools without professionally qualified teachers in the country as a contributing factor.
Mr Mhango said some parents were quick to have their children enrolled in private schools without looking at the quality of teachers available.
A total of 66,971 pupils out of 119,862 candidates who sat for the 2014 grade 12 examinations passed.
Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education Michael Kaingu also expressed concern at the low pass rate and has since directed officials in the ministry to investigate the matter.
Zambia Daily Mail