Mission Schools Rule The Roost In 'O' Level Exams

Mission schools have once again dominated the ZIMSEC national ‘O’ level top 100, accounting for 75 percent.

According to the November 2014 examinations top 100 best performing schools released by ZIMSEC, government schools once again played second fiddle to church schools while private colleges were the worst performers.

The percentage pass rate continued to go down, with the rate for school candidates standing at 22.38 percent while private candidates recorded a mere 8.47 percent.

The total number of candidates examined in the November 2014 ‘O’ level examination session was 316 003.

Candidates who sat for five subjects and above was 173 856 while those who passed five subjects and above with a grade C or better were 36 031.

On a worrying note, male school candidates performed better than their female counterparts with a 27.23 percent pass rate compared with 18.76 percent pass rate for girls.

However, mission schools once again maintained their stranglehold on the top 100, accounting for 75 percent.

The mission schools dominated the top 10 with only ZRP High School in Harare, Nyanga High School and Knowstic Academy spoiling an almost clean sweep.

Schools from Manicaland Province were the top performers with four of the schools making it into the top 5 while the Midlands Province provided Anderson and Regina Mundi into the top 10.

Mashonaland East has St Ignatius College and St Dominics Chishawasha in the top 10.

However, experts are querying the way ZIMSEC is rating the schools, alleging the system is flawed.

The major talking point has been rural and high density schools which are forced to take students who failed Grade 7 yet they are rated together with schools that take the cream.

Another part of the ZIMSEC rating system that has been queried is the failure to recognise schools that have many candidates.

Pamushana in Bikita had 239 candidates but recorded 01.63 percent.

In contrast, the top rated school Monte Casino had only 83 candidates.

Other schools that had high numbers of candidates yet made it into the top 100 are St Dominics (237), Gokomere (236) and Goromonzi (205).

The worst performing schools were in Matabeleland South Province.

Meanwhile, Mathematics and Integrated Science were the most problematic subjects for students who sat for the 2014 ‘O’ level examinations, with the former recording a dismal 21 percent while later has 21,9 percent.

There is a general belief that the subjects are tough but analysts say the problem is linked to the brain drain that has attracted competent teachers to neighbouring countries.

High pass rates were recorded in Literature in English with 82,54 percent, Physics 89,08 percent, Statistics 77,96 percent,  Additional Mathematics 79,62 percent, Home Management 82,46 percent and Computer Studies 78,43 percent.

But why do students continue to register low passes in Science and Mathematics subjects?

An analyst, Pardon Mugari cited ill-equipped laboratories, brain drain and unacceptable teacher to pupil ratio as some of the contributors to low pass rate in the subjects.