BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
A HUGE number of Grade 7 pupils in Lupane, Matabeleland North province, have reading difficulties, a factor that might have largely contributed to the poor pass rate recorded in last year’s examinations.
According to Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) statistics, Matabeleland North registered the worst 2020 Grade 7 results at 15,9%, down from 25% recorded in 2019 followed by Mashonaland Central (22,7%) and Matabeleland South (25%).
Eight schools in the region recorded 0%.
A recent research by Lupane State University revealed that a number of Grade 7 pupils in the district cannot read.
A lecturer at the institution Christopher Ndlovu said the research aimed at explaining the poor pass rate in Lupane district.
“We were concerned as an institution about the poor results,” Ndlovu said.
“That was when we embarked on the research and we reached out to our partners for assistance.
“Some tests were conducted and we found that the majority of the Grade Seven learners read at a standard of Grade Four levels.
“10% read at a level of Grade Two and Three, while the other 10% read at a level of Grade Seven.
“Reading is the basis of the whole learning process. If you can’t read, then you can’t pass because you would not be in a position to understand what the question is demanding of you.
“This is the reason why most learners in this district failed their final examinations.”
The revelations came at a time when there is an outcry after the 2020 Grade 7 pass rate dropped from 46,9% to 37,11%, the worst in six years, according to statistics provided by Zimsec.
Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema blamed sanctions and COVID-19-induced disruptions to learning for the poor pass rate during a presentation in Parliament on Tuesday, an explanation rubbished by teachers’ unions.