Zimbabwe ‘O’ Level Results: Pass Rate Down

Zimbabwe’s O Level results were released yesterday and revealed a drop in the pass rate.

Just to get you through the ZIMSEC stats:

  • 268 854 people registered for exams, compared to 241 512 in 2011
  • 172 698 registered for five subjects or more
  • 31 767 or 18.4% passed with five subjects or more, down 1.1 points from last year
  • Female pass rate was 16.4%. Male pass rate 20.4%.
  • Best passes were in  Ndebele (54,52%)  Business Studies (53,7%),  Biology(52,96)
  • Worst passes were English Language (20,19), Shona (18%)  and Mathematics -non-calculator version (13,91 percent).

Note that a pass us recorded when a student attains 50% or higher.

Now that we have gone through those hard statistics there is the obvious outcry over the drop in standards. While a deeper analysis would have to be made, the good thing off the bat is that we had a 11.3% increase in people writing O Levels last year. That means more people are trying to get an education.

The bad news exists in the numbers, without of course the full forensic outlook. For example how many people registered for  five O Levels last year compared to the year before? If there were significantly more people doing so, this would suggest that in terms of hard numbers more people are graduating from O Level.

Of course this point doesn’t necessarily mean we are better, because under one-in-five passing is just not a good look. There are the obvious reasons for this fall. They have been there for a while but we have a disconnected generation, which lives in a digital world but is taught in an organic one. So that means the attention span of the modern child is not the same one ten years ago. So perhaps the failure could be put down to an evolved child more than anything else, and an education system which refuses to adapt to the new challenges.

That said, the Mathematics score is a worry. So is the Shona score. The English score is probably down to Whatsapp and Facebook.

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