Herzel Mushayabasa/Sharon Chikwanha
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns affected pupils writing their 2020 ZIMSEC Ordinary Level examinations with results declining by close to seven percent compared to the previous year.
According to ZIMSEC chairman Professor Eddie Mwenje, the 2020 pass rate decreased by 6.8 with the overall pass rate recorded at 24.8 percent.
“In 2020, a total of 184 249 candidates wrote 5 or more subjects and 45 644 passed five or more subjects with a Grade C or better giving an overall pass rate of 24.8 percent,” he said.
In 2019, 200 062 pupils wrote five or more subjects with 63 215 obtaining Grade C or better in the same number of subjects.
“The statistics shows that the 2020 pass rate decreased by 6.8 percent from that of 2019,” Professor Mwenje said.
He attributed the decrease in the pass rate to COVID-19 pandemic adding that despite effects of the virus the results were commendable.
Government, at the end of March last year, imposed a national lockdown to curtail the spread of the virus affecting 95 000 schools affecting 4.6 million school going children.
The schools were only opened in September last year.
“This means that 2020 results are within range and this is commendable considering the devastating conditions of COVID 19 pandemic,” Professor Mwenje said.
A candidate performance analysis showed that school candidates pass rate decreased by 8.2 percent.
“School candidates who wrote five or more subjects were 168 272 and 43 244 obtained Grade C or better in five or more subjects, yielding a 25.7 percent pass rate.
“In 2019, school candidates were 176 866 out of which 59 879 obtained Grade C or better in five or more subject yielding a pass rate of 33.9 percent. This shows that a pass rate for school candidates decreased by 8.2 percent.”
The analysis also indicates that private candidates who wrote five or more subjects in November 2020 were 15 977 and 2 403 obtained Grade C or better in the same number of candidates translating to 15.04 percent.
“In 2019, 23 196 wrote five or more subjects and 3 336 obtained a Grade C or better in 5 or more subjects yielding a pass rate of 14.4 percent. This shows a 1.04 percent increase in the 2020 pass rate for private candidates.
“It is important for all the stakeholders of examinations to note that the 2020 school calendar was disrupted and that candidates wrote the examinations under lockdown in 2021.”
Professor Mwenje, however, noted that the examinations went well despite strict observance of the WHO suggested COVID-19 precautions to mitigate against the spread of the novel virus.