EDUCATION minister David Coltart says unscrupulous politicians are seeking to use the much publicised high percentage failure rate in last year’s “O” Level public examinations as a political weapon, even though statistics show that the pass rate is one of the highest in the last 12 years.
Report by Veneranda Langa
Coltart said this on his social network Facebook page yesterday in apparent response to an article published in one of the State-controlled newspapers by Zanu PF politburo member and Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo.
Moyo, in the article, alleged Coltart was “on his way to join some international NGO to distort Zimbabwe’s education infrastructure and to corrupt Zimsec through criminal instructions”.
The former Information minister claimed that Coltart had “turned the Nziramasanga Commission into a dirty phrase and replaced it by the so-called ‘Education Transition Trust’”.
“The fact that Coltart opportunistically cites the findings of the 1999 Nziramasanga Commission in support of his Rhodesian position whose objectives are the opposite of the goals of that Commission is enough to prove his sinister and unacceptable agenda,” wrote Moyo.
“The so-called Education Transition Trust’s vision of education in Zimbabwe dovetails neatly with the Rhodesian vision whose thrust was that blacks should be taught vocational skills and trained to be artisans and do things like carpentry allegedly because they are not academically oriented.”
But Coltart said Zimsec had supplied him with a table showing the trends in the “O” Level pass rates for the past 12 years and indications were that this year’s results were actually better than those attained under his predecessor.
Zanu PF member Aeneas Chigwedere was Education minister from August 2001 to August 2008 before Coltart took over.
“The reality is that as low as the pass rate is, it remains one of the highest ever in the last 12 years. Ironically, the pass rate in 2000 was 13,88% and in 2007 it dropped to 9,85%, while the highest pass rate under my Zanu PF predecessor minister was 14,44%,” Coltart wrote.
He said it was a pity that his ministry was being castigated for reasons that were influenced by political interests.
“The tragedy is that children, the innocent parties in all of this, are being used as political weapons, which is unacceptable. These figures show that there has been crisis in education for some time which will not be resolved through partisan posturing and mendacious vitriol.”
According to the Zimsec table, the lowest “O” Level pass rate of 9,85% was recorded in 2007 followed by 10,2% in 2004; 12,2% in 2005; 12,2% in 2005; 13,0% in 2003; 13,18% in 2000; 13,75% in 2002; 13,99% in 2001; 14,2% in 2006; 14,44% in 2008; 16,5% in 2010; 19,50% in 2011 and 18,4% in 2012.