IT is a worrying trend that every year when Grade Seven results are released, a significant number of schools in Matabeleland record a 0% or poor pass rate.
Even the Ordinary and Advanced Level results in the region have not been impressive at all.
Questions are being raised on who is to blame for this and all the answers point to the government which critics say is not committed to uplifting the standard of education in the region that suffered a serious setback during the government-sponsored Gukurahundi killings of the 1980s, to equate it with other regions.
Grade Seven results for 2020 examinations released by the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) last week are an embarrassment not only to Matabeleland but to the government which has the responsibility of shaping the future of children through education.
A ranking of schools that circulated in the media showed that at least 88 schools countrywide recorded a 0% pass rate. According to the ranking, nine of the top-ranked schools were in Harare while Bulawayo did not have even one school in the top 40.
Most of the worst performing schools, with a 0% pass rate, were said to be in Matabeleland.
The national pass rate was 37,11%, which is lower than the 46,9% of 2019, translating to a decrease of 9,79%.
It is obvious that the government and its proponents would blame the poor performance on the outbreak of COVID-19, but what about in previous years where COVID-19 was not in the picture? Why did some schools record a 0% or poor pass rate then?
It is a shame for Matabeleland to have such a number of schools recording a 0% pass rate when Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema hails from that region.
He must hang his head in shame to be a minister who fails his region of origin, disadvantaguing his own kinsman in terms of access to education.
The State of infrastructure in most rural Matabeleland schools, particularly in Tsholotsho where Mathema comes from, Binga, Lupane and Nkayi in Matabeleland North speaks volumes about the results which come from the region.
Most schools lack furniture, qualified teachers and books among other necessities. One wonders if there is a government or ministry to cater for the nation’s education sector, given such poor state of schools.
During the government of national unity between 2008 and 2013, then Primary and Secondary Education minister David Coltart (MDC) almost revived the education sector through the sourcing of books and capacitation of ministry officials with vehicles to go around schools to assess the situation for the purpose of rehabilitating and capacitating them where necessary.
Even today Coltart is revered by many for his role in transforming the education sector at the time.
It is high time government assists Matabeleland schools to improve quality of education in that region.
This means more resources must be channelled towards the schools to upgrade the infrastructure, source learning material and deploy qualified teachers to Matabeleland.
Also teachers must be well-resourced to be able to produce good results.
Food for thought comrade Mathema, the region is crying out for your urgent intervention.