Officials search for answers as more than half of Grade 7 pupils fail

HARARE – Just 45.57 percent of the learners who sat for the 2023 Grade 7 examinations passed, a slight improvement on 2022, the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec) said Friday.

Zimsec board chairman Prof Eddie Mwenje said candidates can collect their results from Monday. They are also accessible online on the exams body’s website.

Mwenje said although the pass rate remained below 50 percent, it was a marked improvement from 40.09 percent attained in 2022.

“This is an increase of 5.48 percent in candidates’ performance… This could be attributed to the return to the normal school calendar after the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and also various interventions by the ministry of primary and secondary education in terms of teaching and learning,” he said.

Some 372,603 candidates sat the six mandatory subjects, as compared to 343,169 in 2022 – a 7.89 percent increase.

“Of this year’s candidates, 193,520 were females while 179,083 were males. The pass rate for female candidates was 49.56 percent compared to 41.21 for male candidates,” Mwenje said.

A total of 357 special needs candidates sat for the exams, with an average pass rate of 42.99 percent, up from 29.8 percent in 2022 when there were 323 candidates.

Moses Mhike, the secretary in the primary and secondary education ministry, said the pass rate remains depressed because most of the learners reach Grade 2 without being able to read and write.

“According to a survey we conducted, the majority of the learners cannot read and write at Grade 2. They cannot comprehend simple and straightforward issues,” he said.

“It means by the time they face a Grade 7 examination, most of them will not be able to comprehend and answer those papers. As a ministry, this is where we need to concentrate.”

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