THE National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) says it will not accept progression of all grade 7 examination candidates into grade 8 this year.
Executive director Aaron Chansa said unlike in the past when all learners who sat for the G7 examination progressed into G8, even when they failed, NAQEZ would peacefully march against the 100 per cent progression if it would be repeated.
“But we strongly believe that the new Minister of Education Hon Douglas Syakalima and his team will also not entertain this retrogressive and very unpopular practice. The ministry must therefore act now in the best interest of quality education and the country,” he said. “As the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) will soon start marking these exams, we demand reintroduction of cut off points at grade 7 level. Though not a panacea to the low calibre of secondary school learners in Zambia, this reintroduction will help to raise academic competition and spur more hard work among primary school teachers, learners and parents.”
Chansa said out of the 900 total marks at this level, the suggestion was that only candidates who would get more than 600 marks should be allowed to get into G8 in January 2022.
He said Zambians were fed up with having pupils in G8 who cannot even write their names.
“Without any doubt, this policy (automatic progression to 8) has been very offensive to attempts aimed at improving the ailing standards of education in Zambia,” he said
Chansa also appealed to the Ministry of Education to allow those who would fail the 2021 G7 examination to repeat the grade for them to make academic amends next year.
He said the current policy where the Examinations Council of Zambia expires G7 examination numbers had proved fatal to the education system.
“It must be abandoned as it forces those who fail the exam to rush into grade 8 just to keep their exam numbers valid. It also pushes a lot of poor children, especially girls to drop out of school. We cannot keep such a poverty inducing policy when the national development plan aims at carrying all Zambians along,” Chansa said. “As an organisation, we find this policy inimical to national developmental aspirations and an enemy of social progress.”
Chansa said NAQEZ “passionately pleads with the Minister of Education to personally prevail over the issue”.
He said for some years now, the practice had been a source of grave concern by overwhelming majority citizens and stakeholders.
“To make our educational foundations strong and reliable, we propose introduction of transitional tests, from pre-school up to grade 5. Unlike the current worrying situation, these tests will only allow academically suitable learners to progress from one grade to another,” said Chansa.