Ministry moves to end embarrassing 0% pass rate

-pay teachers well, PTUZ


HARARE-The Government is rolling out a Joint Monitoring exercise across the country to examine the challenges faced by schools, especially in the rural areas in an effort to end the embarrassing 0% pass rates.

In a statement ahead of the exercise, the Education Ministry’s director of communications and advocacy, Taungana Ndoro stressed the importance of adopting a multifaceted approach to improve pass rates in underperforming schools.

“We need to continue to invest in teacher training and professional development programs to enhance the quality of teaching as well as provide ongoing support for teachers, such as mentoring and coaching, to improve their instructional skills and classroom management techniques.

 “We aim to come up with baseline findings that inform programming and policy as well as decision-makers on the required interventions by Government and partners to ensure education for sustainable development and to ensure we have no zero-percent pass rates in our schools,” Ndoro said.

Ndoro said the monitoring exercise will promote strong and effective school leadership by providing training and support to heads of schools and administrators.

Adding that “effective leadership plays a crucial role in creating a positive school culture, setting high expectations, and fostering conducive learning environment for increased pass rates”.

He highlighted that the ministry, envisaged to enhance the education curriculum to ensure it is continuously relevant, engaging, and aligned with future generational goals.

Hence, they had incorporated practical and hands-on learning experiences to make education more interactive and applicable to real-life situations.

“Furthermore, Government will continue to allocate adequate resources to schools, including textbooks, teaching materials, science laboratories, and technology and improve school infrastructure, such as classrooms, libraries, and sanitation facilities, to create a conducive learning environment,” added Ndoro.

He emphasized the importance of active involvement from parents and the community in the education process, as it strengthens the existing mechanisms for regular communication between schools and parents.

“The Ministry also encourages collaboration among schools, teachers, and educational institutions to facilitate opportunities for sharing best practices, collaboration on projects, and professional development workshops in order to improve or maintain high pass rates.

“It is our clarion call that collaboration between Government, educators, parents, and communities remains crucial for achieving long-term improvements in the pass rates of underperforming schools,” he said.

He stressed the need for enhancing effective systems for monitoring and evaluating pupil’s performance, teacher effectiveness, and school management.

“We are pleased that the Ministry is implementing interventions to address the individual needs of pupils, such as remedial classes, tutoring programs, and counselling services, which help us, identify struggling students early and provide targeted support to help them catch-up and succeed academically.

“Regular assessment of pupils’ progress and use of data to identify areas of improvement and tailor interventions accordingly are strategies that are underway,” he said.

Ndoro added that the ongoing recruitment of teachers is also aimed at reducing class sizes to ensure that teachers can provide individual attention to pupils.

However, the Progress Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president, Dr Takavafira Zhou had no kind words for exercise, calling it ill-conceived and lacking in educational taxonomy.

He said the ministry has not set clear cut ideas and procedures of identifying and nurturing talents and wrongly assumes that teaching is passing 5 ‘O’ levels.

“It’s a useless exercise to expect teachers to make miracles without textbooks, ICT, basic infrastructure, and when more often than not teachers are scavenging for food.

“Pay teachers well, build good adequate classrooms, provide ICT, employ more teachers, employ good teacher-pupil ration, end bloated classes, focus on a skills revolution or life serving skills, introduce indigenous knowledge systems, support research by teachers through research grants, support production of school textbooks by teachers, support skills than concentrating on 5 O Level passes,” Zhou said.

Zhou argues that government must provide the best educational taxonomy, best industrial harmony that engineer innovation, dynamism and productivity anchored on collective social dialogue.

“Policy direction must be a product of broad based engagement of stakeholders, and logical disputation in line with professional ethics of a particular profession, and in line with the best global policy, and not wishful thinking and political expediency or blame game.

“It must be a product of cross pollination of ideas and not self pollination. Education must be fully comprehended in its actual sense as identifying and nurturing talents and not the reductionist banter of pass rates. We don’t eat dysfunctional pass rates,” added Zhou.

He said government has no commitment to pay teachers a living wage and to “engage in appropriate pre and in-service training of teachers, let alone providing ICT as 75% of primary and 65% secondary schools in Zimbabwe have no access to electricity or solar power”.

According to the 2023 Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) November examinations, Advanced Level candidates managed a pass rate of over 50 percent, with Grade 7 on 45,57%, while Ordinary Level candidates recorded a 29,41%.

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