I AM deeply concerned that schools in rural areas of Eastern Province have insisted to send back Grade Nine failures to Grade Six in spite of the Ministry of General Education attempting to clarify this issue.
The ministry said the candidates who failed Grade Nine exams can sit as external candidates. Now, in as much as Government has insisted that those who failed Grade Nine can write as external candidates, there are very few schools that are taking pupils into the programme.
For instance, in the whole of Eastern Province, there are less than five schools getting pupils as external candidates. Where do the rest go? To make matters worse, these have no boarding facilities for pupils that come from far places. So, it has cost implications in terms of accommodation, food and transport.
I have a few more questions here. Is Government concerned about:
i) Girl-children’s education, especially in rural areas?
ii) The psychological impact which this may have on a pupil who was in Grade Nine being taken back to Grade Six?
iii) High illiteracy levels in rural areas as most pupils who failed have refused to go back to Grade Six?
iv) Does it mean the Examinations Council of Zambia has nullified the results that pupils obtained when they sat the Grade Seven examinations?
Some of the solutions could be to turn those schools which are not considered as external centres into external ones. Or, maybe, these schools should allow pupils to go back to Grade Eight since they had already passed the Grade Seven examinations.