Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) has noted that the 2019 grade 12 examination results as announced by the Minister of General Education has shown improvement compared to the previous year. The Coalition is however not happy that the improvement in performance by the candidates who obtained certificates shows a very marginal increase in pass rates from 63.44% in 2018 to 65.32% in 2019. Overall, the results show that much still needs to be done in order for more candidates to obtain full Grade 12 certificates and these include investing the vocational career path, recruiting enough teachers annually and increasing the financing of education inputs and operational costs. For instance, our strong view is that all pupils must graduate with a certificate in either vocational skills or academic career path. Therefore, we would like to urge the Ministry of General Education to invest in the Vocational and Skills career path to ensure that no pupils are declared to have failed their examinations after 12 years of being school. There is also need for the Ministry of General Education to establish why some provinces are performing better than others so as to ensure quality education is delivered to all children in all schools.   

Additionally, ZANEC notes with great disappointment the increased number of candidates who were absent from Grade 12 Examinations estimated at 2,677 in 2019. This represents an increase of 28.4% in 2018 which had 1,916 learners that were absent.  The issue of absenteeism needs to be addressed as most of our learners end up not having a School Certificate. 

Furthermore, the Coalition notes with concern that candidates performed least in natural sciences and mathematics in a country where Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects are currently being promoted. The high failure rate in mathematics and sciences can be attributed to the fact that they are among the subjects that have a high pupil teacher ratio and also the fact that in 2019 there was no recruitment of teachers. This is sad considering the high loss of teachers annually due to resignations, promotion to management positions, retirements and deaths which is estimated at 4,500 annually. We therefore call upon the Ministry of General Education

to recruit more teachers in STEM subjects as part of the expansion of the secondary school subsector to complement  the ongoing infrastructure expansion programme. 

ZANEC commends the Ministry of General Education and the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) for having reduced examination malpractices for 2019 to 179 cases.


George Hamusunga


Issued on 17th February, 2020

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