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PSLCE results puzzle experts

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Benedicto Kondowe

Education experts have expressed surprise over the impressive 2020 Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) Examination results which the Ministry of Education released Monday.

According to results which Education Minister Agnes Nyalonje announced Monday, the 2020 PSLCE results are the best in five years despite the scare of Covid-19, which saw school-goers being out of school for close to six months.

According to the results, out of 277,007 candidates who sat the examination, 225,387 have passed, representing 81.37 percent pass rate.

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“It is noteworthy that, despite the challenges of 2020 school closure, and having to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, this pass rate of 81.37 percent is the highest pass rate for the last five years and an improvement on last year’s pass rate of 77.46 percent.

“Teachers, other ministry staff, students, parents/guardians and the communities that have supported their schools in various ways deserve praise and credit for this achievement,” Nyalonje said.

She said out of the 135,478 female candidates who sat the examination, 104,781 have passed, representing 77.34 percent pass rate. On the other hand, out of the 141,529 male candidates who sat the examination, 120,606 have passed, representing 85.22 percent pass rate.

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Nyalonje said a total 84,947candidates, or 37.73 percent of those that passed, have been selected to start form one in secondary schools.

“This means that 140,440 eligible students have been left out. This is due to the severe shortage of secondary school spaces. It is for this reason that my ministry has made the construction of additional secondary schools a top priority. To double the transition rate from 37.73 percent to 76 percent, we need 949 secondary schools which translates into 11, 388 classrooms and 5,694 classroom blocks,” she said.

But education experts Benedicto Kondowe and Steve Sharra said it was puzzling to see students achieving impressive results in a year when they stayed out of class for close to half a year.

In an interview Monday, Kondowe said the minister owed Malawians an explanation as to how the results could improve when students were not in class.

“I think, in the coming days, the Ministry of Education and Maneb [Malawi National Examinations Board] will explain to Malawians as to what must have contributed to the improved results in a Covid-19 environment,” Kondowe said.

On his part, Sharra described the results as a pleasant surprise.

“We expected the results to be poorer, considering the situation that the country went through. I am surprised,” Sharra said.

Meanwhile, as Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations start this morning, the government has said law enforcement agencies would deal with those attempting to leak examinations.

MSCE examinations were cancelled on November 4 last year after reports of massive leakage

Nyalonje said the government had spent K4.5 billion on examinations re-administration.

Meanwhile, Police Director of Operations Ellobiam Banda has said law enforcers will work hand-in-hand with Malawi Defence Force personnel to seal all loopholes.

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