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MSCE disaster

Agnes NyaLonje

Benedicto Kondowe

Quality education advocates have described this year’s Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examination results as disastrous.

Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) and Ministry of Education officials released the results yesterday, with the latter faulting the Covid pandemic for the undesirable outcome.

Maneb acting Executive Secretary Professor Dorothy Nampota said, out of 138,310 candidates that sat examinations, 57,293 passed, representing a 41.42 percent pass rate Out of 64,297 female candidates that sat examinations, 22,270 passed, representing a 34.64 percent pass rate.

In terms of male candidates, 35,023 triumphed out of 74,013 that sat the examinations, representing a 47.32 percent pass rate.

Nampota said only 277 out of 687 special needs education candidates that sat examinations passed.

Education Minister Agnes NyaLonje admitted that the 2020 MSCE examinations pass rate was the lowest in over a decade.

She, however, attributed the performance to the Covid pandemic, cancellation of the first set of examinations and strict anti-cheating measures put in place during examinations administration.

“There were no reported cases of cheating. The involvement of Malawi Defence Force and Malawi Police Service, along with other security agencies, and the vigilance of citizens played a big role in tightening the security of examinations,” NyaLonje said.

She added that candidates were disoriented following the cancellation of the October 2020 MSCE examinations due to massive leakage.

The Education Minister further faulted the prolonged closure of schools due to the second wave of the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Civil Society Education Coalition Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe has described this year’s results as the worst since 2010.

“It has been a disastrous performance. This has been the lowest performance indicator since 2010,” he said.

Kondowe concurred with NyaLonje on the point that cancellation of the first set of examinations might have served as a psychological burden on candidates.

“The students themselves were not working hard (when schools were closed). They abandoned studies; as such, you cannot expect good results,” Kondowe said.

Quality education activist Steve Sharra urged the Ministry of Education to embrace technology, arguing that, if students had access to e-learning services, the outcome would have been positively different.

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