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CALA Blamed as 50% of Grade 7 Pupils Fail

"Many learners reach Grade 2 without the ability to read and write" - Moses Mhike

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CALA Blamed as 50% of Grade 7 Pupils Fail

According to the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (ZIMSEC), more than half of grade 7 pupils failed to pass their examinations.

CALA Putting Pressure on Students

The pass rate for the 2023 Grade 7 examinations saw a slight improvement, with 45.57% of learners successfully passing.

Zimsec board chairman, Prof Eddie Mwenje, announced on Friday that candidates can collect their results starting Monday.

Results are also available online on the official exam body’s website.

Prof Mwenje highlighted that despite the pass rate remaining below 50%, there was a notable increase from the 2022 figure of 40.09%.

ZIMSEC Grade 7 Results: How to Access Them

The 2023 improvement of 5.48% in candidates’ performance is attributed to the resumption of the normal school calendar after disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, various interventions by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, particularly in teaching and learning, played a significant role in this improvement.

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The number of candidates who sat for the six mandatory subjects in 2023 increased to 372,603, a 7.89% rise from 2022’s 343,169.

CALA Blamed as 50% of Grade 7 Pupils Fail 

Of these candidates, 193,520 were females, while 179,083 were males. The pass rate for female candidates stood at 49.56%, surpassing the 41.21% for male candidates.

A total of 357 special needs candidates took the exams in 2023, achieving an average pass rate of 42.99%. This marks a significant improvement from the 29.8% pass rate in 2022 when there were 323 special needs candidates.

Moses Mhike, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education secretary, acknowledged that the overall pass rate remains depressed. He attributed this to the fact that many learners reach Grade 2 without the ability to read and write. He said:

According to a survey we conducted, the majority of learners cannot read and write at Grade 2. They cannot comprehend simple and straightforward issues.

As a ministry, this is where we need to concentrate to ensure that learners are adequately prepared for Grade 7 examinations.

The low pass rates have been attributed to a myriad of challenges in the education sector including demotivated teachers, lack of adequate educational material and work overload for students as a result of CALA.

Parents in Harare and other parts of the country have rejected the Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA) programme under the competence-based curriculum that was introduced in 2015 saying it is costly and time consuming.

Curriculum Review Consultations as Parents Reject CALAs

Cala is a revolution from the traditional knowledge-based final examination model to a competency-based exit profile evaluation for Grade Seven, O-Level and A-Level learners.


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