TWO things came to mind when Minister of Education Dennis Wanchinga announced Grade 7 and Grade 9 results in Lusaka yesterday.
The results were being announced against a background of some teachers being found to have used forged professional documents and leakages of examination papers being rife.
These two issues have an impact on Zambia’s education standards and stakeholders have work cut out for them to ensure that the situation is restored.
Despite some teachers forging their qualifications and leakages recurring every year, there are genuine and hardworking teachers out there who toil to serve the profession and country.
This practices of leaking examination papers and using fake qualifications impact negatively on the country’s socio-economic growth because pupils do not study to understand the particular subjects and also study the for the sake of passing an examination.
Most of the professionals in their respective disciplines under-perform resulting in poor yield, hence low contribution to the Gross Domestic Product.
Skills transfer is also affected because the person transferring skills is not knowledgeable as he has a dubious qualification.
We urge actors in the education sector to stop leakages and faking of qualifications as this takes the country many years back in as far as socio-economic development is concerned.
That is why we commend teachers in Copperbelt, Lusaka, North-Western, Northern, Western, Luapula, Central and Muchinga provinces for excelling at Grade 9 level.
At the same time, we urge teachers in Eastern and Southern provinces through their provincial education officers to emulate the other regions in terms of performance.
The two regions’ averages are lower than 50 percent.
This is sad because both Eastern and Southern provinces have in the past been strong in the production of strong academic candidates.
We urge provincial education officers for Eastern and Southern provinces to work hard and not only achieve the average 50 percent mark but surpass the other regions.
Provincial education officers in Eastern and Southern provinces should therefore review the performance of their regions.
They should find out what led their regions to perform badly and remedy the situation as a matter of urgency.
They should replicate the hard work the other provinces have put in to have a high pass percentage.
Last year, the North-Western performed badly and were warned.
Overall, the results are a reflection that our teachers are not doing much.
The region has rebounded this year to trail Copperbelt Province (61.44 percent), Lusaka Province (60.15 percent) and North-Western Province (59.70 percent).
We commend the Ministry of Education for releasing the results timely as it will allow parents and guardians to celebrate the festive season responsibly, bearing in mind that they have school costs to manage next month.
Beyond the pass rate, Zambia needs an education system that provides economic/ developmental solutions to our many challenges.