Office of the Ombudsman has started investigating the selection of standard 8 learners to government secondary schools after some quarters queried the process.
In January this year, Education Minister Agnes NyaLonje announced results of 2020 Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) Examination results, which have been touted as the best in five years.
According to the results, out of the 277,007 candidates who sat the examination, 225,387 passed, representing 81.37 percent pass rate.
Out of 135,478 female candidates that sat the examination, 104,781 passed, representing a 77.34 percent pass rate. On the other hand, out of the 141,529 male candidates that sat the examination, 120,606 passed, representing 85.22 percent pass rate.
However, there was an uproar from some quarters when the ministry announced that 84,947 candidates, or 37.73 percent of those that passed, had 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,” Nyalonje said.
Following the complaints, the Ministry of Education asked Office of the Ombudsman to audit the selection process.
The ministry said the investigation would review in detail events and processes involved in the examination results and secondary school selection process of the 2020/21 school year.
Ombudsman Martha Chizuma told The Daily Times Tuesday that investigations into the issue had started, adding that Ministry of Education officials had given her office all the necessary documents for the audit.
However, Chizuma said the documents were bulky.
“We wrote the Ministry of Education [informing it] that we are starting the audit and we received all the documents for the exercise on February 8, if I am not mistaken. These are bulky documents and we are devising a plan on how to go about them within the shortest time possible,” she said.
Meanwhile, NyaLonje has said they are planning to establish an expert committee aimed at reviewing issues affecting learners’ performance which, in turn, lead to inequities in the performance of primary schools.
NyaLonje said this was part of the reforms the ministry would undertake to review policies of selection to secondary schools, teacher training colleges and public universities to make sure that they are inequitable and based on performance and merit.
“The legitimacy of the existing policies and practices has been called to doubt by many because of the imposition of the quota system over the last decades. We will work to ensure that the selection policies and processes gain the trust and confidence of all stakeholders,” she said
In a statement she presented to Parliament yesterday, she added that the ministry would be acting based on the strength of evidence when implementing policies.