Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) is pleased with the announcement made on 4th November, 2021 by the Minister of Education Honourable Douglas Syakalima MP on the release of the 2021 General Certificate of Education (GCE) for Grade 12 Examination Results.
It is progressive to see that there was an increase of 12.89% in candidates that sat for GCE in 2021 compared to 2020. From the gender perspective, we also note that 67.59 % of females registered compared to 32.42% of male who registered. This is good because statistics show that more females than males drop out of school. Therefore, it is good that more females are now registering at GCE level as this will ensure that no gender is left behind in terms of access to education.
The Coalition takes this opportunity to once again applaud and commend the Ministry of Education (MoE) for sustaining learning amidst the COVID 19 pandemic. The Ministry has shown all of us how much education means to our country even during the COVID 19 pandemic.
We are happy that the General Certificate of Education is now only awarded to a candidate when the subjects and grades passed meet the standards for the award of the School Certificate. This means that by implementing the new rules, the General Certificate of Education obtained from the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ) effective 2021 is a direct equivalent of the School Certificate. This is a step in the right direction as it is in line with the international standards.
However, ZANEC has noted with sadness that yet again, the lowest mean score was recorded in Mathematics at 18.24 percent. To this effect, we would like to reiterate our call on the need to invest more in education prerequisites such as recruitment of more teachers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, provision of learning and teaching materials as well as construction of science laboratories. It is our hope that among the 30,000 teachers that will be recruited in 2022, a good number of them will be specialised in STEM subjects especially for our rural schools that have inadequate teachers.
We are equally concerned that the national failure rate has increased from 10.50% in 2020 to 13.66% in 2021. Our view is that the increase in failure rate is as a result of the failure to adapt the examinations to the reduced pupil-teacher interaction resulting from the long closure of schools due to the COVID 19 pandemic. We therefore call upon the MoE to revise the curriculum, by among others, reducing the examinable number of subjects and topics so that learners can focus on core competences and skills given the reduction in learning time caused by COVID 19.