St Ignatius College in Chishawasha has set the minimum entry bar for Advanced Level a notch up after recording an impressive high pass rate at Ordinary Level in the 2015 sitting, NewsDay has established.
Results seen by NewsDay show that about 30 of the 76 students who set for “O” Level examinations at the college scored 12 A’s and above while the average “poor” performers had 9 A’s each.
The high pass rate has forced the school to demand that students to be accepted for “A” Level for any combination this year, should have at least 12 As at “O” Level in a bid to screen from a potential 400 students who had shown interest in joining the Catholic Jesuits-run school.
But the bar has not gone down well with some parents who wanted their children to enrol at the school which is perched on top of a hill in Chishawasha.
Parents who spoke to NewsDay said the demand for 12 A’s was too high given that some of their children went to schools offering less than 12 “O” Level subjects and still managed to score A’s in all the available subjects.
St Ignatious rector Lawrence Daka, said while his heart bled for those who failed to get placement at the college, the situation was beyond their control.
“We only have places for 43 boys and 23 girls at ‘A’ Level yet at ‘O’ Level the college enrols 76 boys. This means we even have to let go some of our own boys who have been with the institution since grade one,” Daka said.
“The college had to devise a selection criteria like any other institution so that from the over 400 pupils who showed interest we are left with 43 boys,” he said.
In an effort to achieve transparent enrolment the college has set up a 11-member selection committee which looks at yearly performance of pupils and sets the minimum entry requirements.
According to records seen by NewsDay, Maths, Physics and Chemistry combination class is made up of students who have been at the college for their “O” Levels with the lowest performer having achieved 13 A’s.
Daka said for the college to accept a student who was at another school into St Ignatius then they should meet the standard which was set by their “O” Level students.
“We are a Christian school and we value fairness. This is a good, but small school and unfortunately we can’t take everyone so we have to use methods that are fair to enrol,” he said.
In a Primary and Secondary Education ministry circular marked 03\2016 and signed by permanent secretary Sylvia Utete Masango, enrolment guidelines provide that pupils with grade C or better should be provided placement at schools. The same circular, however, says pupils should be allowed to pursue combinations in subjects they have higher grades.
“Pupils should pursue subjects in which they have higher grades to ensure better performance,” the circular read.