While this year’s Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations have produced a six-point scorer for the first time since 2017, the aggregate number of the candidates who have passed the examinations has dropped by 13 percentage points.
Last year, 197,286 candidates sat MSCE examinations and 124, 745 passed, representing 63.23 percent pass rate.
This year, 92,867 sat the examinations and 46, 771 candidates have passed, representing 50.36 pass rate.
After all the 197, 287 candidates missed out on six points last year, Arthur Chibondo of Zomba Catholic Secondary School has made it this year, becoming the best student in the process while Loyola Jesuit Secondary School from Kasungu District is the best performing school.
Minister of Education, William Susuwele Banda, said he knows the reasons behind the drop in the pass rate adding that the government would rectify the problems.
“As the government, we are not happy that only 50 percent have passed. We know that this has been the case because of knowledge gaps among secondary school teachers being the first examinations on the new syllabus. [The] government is also aware that most of the public schools do not have adequate learning materials and we will start from there,” he said.
Banda bemoaned the number of absentees, saying 5.5 percent of the 98,332 candidates who registered for the examinations did not show up.
Education analyst Steve Sharra said it was interesting that the Minister was aware of the reasons for the drop in the pass rate but said concrete action must follow.
“A good two years passed after the new syllabus was introduced before most of the public schools had necessary books and it was clear that it would lead to this. It is interesting that the minister knows why many students have failed but without action, this will remain rhetoric,” he said.
Sharra also said lack of the promised mobile laboratories must have affected performance of the students in science subjects.
Meanwhile, English and Mathematic have produced the poorest pass rate of 81. 32 and 42.51 percent, respectively.
Malawi National Examinations Board Executive Director, Gerald Chiunda, said he was impressed that the examinations this year were leakage- free saying this has enhanced credibility of the examination results.