The Ministry of General education has revealed that the performance rate for grade 9 examinations has gone down by 9.54 percent in 2018 as compared to the 2017 performance.
Acting Minister of General Education Elizabeth Phiri said the pass rate for this year’s Grade nine exams had fallen from 55.19 percent recorded in 2017 to 45.65 percent in 2018.
Ms. Phiri disclosed that 116, 616 candidates obtained certificates from a total of 255,449 that sat for exams in 2018.
The Minister was however concerned with a high absenteeism recorded, with 29, 074 candidates missing out of exams due to absenteeism.
“Although we have recorded a slight decrease in the rate of absenteeism, it is still worrying that over 29, 000 candidates missed out of the exams,” she said.
Ms. Phiri also disclosed that Muchinga and Luapula provinces recorded the highest absenteeism rate at 13.49 percent each while Copperbelt province recorded the lowest at 7.08 percent.
The minister further said female candidates constituted the largest number of absentees, with over 15, 000 girls sitting out of exams.
She also said 58,974 boys obtained certificates in comparison to 57, 642 boys who obtained certificates, representing a percentage of 46.16 percent and 45.15 percent respectively.
Ms. Phiri also revealed that the highest performance was recorded in Design and Technology followed by French and Art and Design while the lowest performance was recorded in Business Studies followed by Religious Education.
Earlier on, Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ) Director Michael Chilala said the commission had experienced many challenges during the course of Grade nine exams.
Dr. Chilala explained that the commission had replaced six exam papers which included Mathematics Paper 2, Social Studies, Nyanja, Religious Education and Business Studies.
He said the performance was affected by the one week break after exams were suspended indefinitely.
“Learners experienced some psychological problems after the exams were cancelled for a week, which may have affected their performance,” he said.
Dr. Chilala advised that exams should not be seen as a failing and passing affair but rather as a system for monitoring the progress of learners.
Kachabe Hamatan is a fourth year student of Media Studies at the University of Zambia. He has keen interest in current affairs with specific focus on politics and sports.