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February 14 back to school for Form Ones

FORM One pupils are set to return to school on February 14 to allow parents and guardians to secure secondary school places following the release of 2021 Grade Seven results that saw the country recording a 41 percent pass rate.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has said parents and guardians should use the coming week to prepare for the opening of Form One classes.

The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council released 2021 Grade Seven results showing that there was a 4 percent increase in the national pass rate compared to 2020.

Addressing the media yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Evelyn Ndlovu said the enrolment of both Form One day scholars and boarders will start next Monday and ends on Friday.

The Minister said the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Tumisang Thabela will announce the opening date for Form Fives once Zimsec releases Ordinary Level results.

She said the school calendar for the rest of the continuing classes was previously announced by the Ministry: Term 1 runs from Monday 7 February to April 7; Term 2 starts on May 3 and ends on August 4 and Term 3 will start on September 5 and end on December 8.

“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education would like to inform the nation and its valued stakeholders, teachers, learners and parents that pursuant to the release of Grade 7 results for 2021, the 2022 cohort of learners are expected to start classes on 14 February 2022,” said Dr Ndlovu.

“The following processes will take place in preparation for this: Form 1 Enrolment on EMAP parents/guardians who wish to send their children to boarding schools are advised to upload their children’s results on the Ministry’s electronic platform: www.emap.co.zw as from 7 February 2022 when the platform will be open for heads of boarding secondary schools to commence their enrolment of 2022 Form 1s.

This process will enable both Form 1 day scholars and boarders to join the rest of the learners on 14 February 2022.”

Dr Ndlovu said Government will continue to support the management and prevention of Covid-19 in learning institutions through the provision of personal protective equipment (PPEs). “In light of this, all eligible 16–17-year-old learners are urged to join the nation’s efforts to continue fighting the pandemic through taking advantage of Government’s free vaccination programme.

Let us turn our schools into Covid-19 free zones. Remember to always mask up, wash your hands with soap under running water, keep a safe social distance and stay safe,” she said.

“The Ministry advises that the wearing of face masks, handwashing as well as physical distancing are a must in the fight against Covid-19 at all school centres to assure a safe learning environment for our learners as well as uninterrupted and accelerated implementation of teaching and learning activities.”

Dr Ndlovu said Government remains committed to the provision of quality, affordable, accessible, relevant, equitable, inclusive and wholesome education for all Zimbabweans.

Meanwhile, Zimsec chairperson Professor Eddie Mwenje said schools should start collecting 2021 Grade Seven results on Monday at Zimsec’s regional offices while results could be accessed via online starting yesterday.

“The link is via the Zimsec website, www.zimsec,co,zw. The publication of the 2021 Grade 7 Examination results falls within the timeline of the publication of the 2020 Grade 7 Examination results.

We wish to inform the nation that the 2020 and the 2021 examination writing sessions were moved from the traditional times of October to December because of the Covid-19 pandemic disruptions to the school calendar,” said Prof Mwenje.

“The total number of candidates who sat for the 2021 Grade Seven examination was 325 573. This is a 0,6 percent decrease from the 2020 entry which was 327 559.”

He attributed the drop in the number of candidates to Covid-19 economic hardships, early pregnancies and marriages as well as the lack of appreciation of the recently introduced Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALAs).

Prof Mwenje said the country recorded a slight improvement in the national pass rate as schools adopted new learning techniques in face of Covid-19.

“The 2021 Grade 7 examination session recorded a national pass rate of 41,13 percent. This is an increase of 4,02 percent in candidates’ performance from last year’s pass rate of 37,11 percent.

The improvement in candidates’ performance in all subjects may be attributed to among other factors: the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education interventions that led to increased learning time by pupils through the use of alternative teaching and learning strategies; a longer teaching and learning calendar in 2021 as compared to 2020,” said Prof Mwenje.

He said the introduction of CALA also contributed to an improved pass rate.
Prof Mwenje said females continue to outperform their male counterparts in the national examinations.

“Out of the 325 573 candidates who sat for the 2021 Grade 7 examinations, 51,31 percent were females while 48,68 percent were males.

The pass rate for female candidates was 44,55 percent compared to 37,48 percent, for male candidates. Indigenous languages recorded higher pass rates when compared to all other subjects. This was also the case in 2019 and 2020,” said Prof Mwenje.

He said 379 candidates with special needs sat for a range of subjects from 5 to 6 and they recorded an improved pass rate compared to the previous year.

“Of these 248 wrote 6 subjects and 136 passed 6 subjects yielding an overall percentage pass rate of 54,88. There was general improved performance by special needs candidates, with those with hard of hearing recording 23,13 percent from 11,43 percent in 2020,” he said.

“Enlarged print candidates recorded 54,84 percent as compared to 43,86 percent in 2020 and those physically impaired recorded 32,5 percent as compared to 13,53 percent in 2020.

The Visually Impaired candidates (Braille), recorded a decrease in pass rate from 50 percent in 2020 to 37,1 percent in 2021.”

Prof Mwenje commended stakeholders in the education sector for committing themselves and ensuring that Grade Seven results were released within acceptable time.

-CHRONICLE

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