Plummeting education standards as shown by PSLCE results
According to a press statement released on Tuesday by the Malawi National examinations Board (Maneb) in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, out of 217, 848 candidates who sat for the PSLCE examinations, 150, 276 have passed, representing a 68.98 percent pass rate.
However, Executive Director of Civil Society Coalition on Education, Benedicto Kondowe, said on Wednesday, the 68.98 percent pass rate is insignificant as the ideal pass rate for such examinations is 75 percent.
"It remains a fact that an increase in the pass rate is insignificant because ordinarily at the level of primary school leaving certificate of education examinations we should have expected a pass rate of not less than 75 percent," said Kondowe, adding that the observation is made against the background that in many countries in this region, the pass rate at PSLCE is above 80 percent.
He said the pass rate is discouraging because output at that level is not what the country should expect especially if compared to the Kamuzu Banda era where the pass rate could reach above 85 percent.
On what government can do to improve the situation, Kondowe said there is need for the government to put in place the right policies.
He said the government should have a policy guiding a partnership that can be nurtured between government and the private sector as the latter can provide incredible contribution in addressing some of the challenges prevailing in the education sector.
Kondowe also said that there is a need to have a sustainable political will in the country.
"We need to have a sustainable political will by our politicians and the leadership in this country that they commit themselves to ensuring that we provide quality education in this country," Kondowe said.
Kondowe said this could be achieved by recruiting more teachers, construction of adequate infrastructures, provision of adequate teaching and learning material and empowering communities to support education programmes.
For the past three years, there has been negligible change in the pass rate for the standard 8 examinations. In 2010, out of 190, 609 candidates who sat for the examinations, 128, 868 passed representing a 67.61 percent pass rate.
In 2011, 205, 739 students sat for the examinations with 141, 646 students passing thus signifying a 68.85 percent pass rate. In comparison, there was an increase of 1.24 percent.
On the brighter side, the candidature for the examinations has increased steadily by 12 percent since 2010.
However, in comparison, 2012 has seen a decrease in the number of candidates who sat for the examinations from a seven percent increase between 2010 and 2011 to a five percent increase between 2011 and 2012.