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73% pass rate in JCE exam

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The Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) Thursday released results of this year’s Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) examinations, which has seen a total of 41,598 candidates failing the exam.

That number is 10,000 students higher than last year, when 31,000 candidates failed.

According to Maneb, out of the 154,495 candidates who sat the examination, 112,897 have passed, representing a 73.07 percent pass rate.

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Secretary for Education Chikondano Mussa admitted that this year’s pass rate is slightly lower than the 76.01 pass rate registered last year.

Nsanje tops the list of districts with low pass rates at 63.17 percent, followed by Chikwawa at 65.08 percent, Mzimba North at 65.46 percent, Rumphi at 67.77 percent and Lilongwe City at 68.93 percent.

On the other hand, Phalombe leads districts with high pass rate at 85.14 percent, followed by Zomba Urban at 83.93 percent, Mulanje at 82.76 percent and Ntchisi at 81.26 percent.

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Maneb further says out of the 77,484 female candidates who sat the examination, 56,056 have passed, representing 68.47 percent pass rate.

“Out of the 77,011 male candidates who sat this examination, 59,841 have passed. This represents 77.70 percent pass rate.

“Out of the 970 Special Needs Education (SNE) candidates who sat this examination, 685 have passed. This represents 70.62 percent pass rate,” Maneb says in a statement.

The examinations body further says out of the 100,442 internal candidates who sat the examination, 85,392 have passed, representing 85.02 percent pass rate.

Out of the 19,881 external candidates who sat the examination, 10,952 have passed, representing 55.09 percent pass rate.

On Open and Distance Learning (ODL), Maneb says out of the 34,172 candidates who sat the examination, 16,553 have passed, representing 48.44 percent pass rate.

In an interview Thursday, Civil Society Education Coalition Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe described the results as an indicator that education standards are declining in the country.

Kondowe said expectations were high that candidates would do better this year because, unlike last year when the examinations were administered under tough Covid conditions, the situation was better this year.

“It’s an indication that the standards are going down because if you look at the demands of JCE, they are not as tough as those of MSCE. So, to have 41,000 candidates failing is a cause for worry,” Kondowe said.

This is the second time that Maneb has administered the examination after resumption last year. In 2016, government scrapped off the exams citing costs. Government re-introduced the exams in 2020-21 academic year.

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