The results for Zimbabwe’s November 2012 Ordinary Level examinations have been released, revealing a shocking 18.4% pass rate, and an 81.6% fail rate. 31,767 students passed in the five subjects out of the total 172,698 pupils who sat for the test. The rate indicates a drop from last year’s 19.5 pass rate.
The O-level exams are a secondary school test that require a C grade on five subjects for a passing test score. Students normally take 8 or 9 subjects during their schooling.
Gender disparity was very clearly present in the results. Females held a pass rate of 16.4% compared to 20.4% of males. Only 14,198 females passed five subjects, compared with the 17,565 males who did so.
Despite the shortcomings, David Coltart, education minister of Zimbabwe, pointed out to reporters that the test results mark an improvement from 2009, during which 14% of students passed. He blamed a decade of “chaos.” He said, “I’m afraid that this was inevitable. There’s been so much chaos in Zimbabwe’s education system in the last decade that it was inevitable that children’s education would be affected in this way…We are improving it but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
Coltart, a Christian politician who was one of the founding members of the Movement for Democratic Change, became education minister in 2008. He notably ended teacher strikes in 2009 and raised teacher pay in the region.
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