HARARE – For the second year running, Monte Cassino Girls High, a Catholic boarding school in Mashonaland East, has emerged as the best school at ‘‘O’’ Level in the country, yet again recording an amazing 100 percent pass rate in 2014.

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According to national pass rate statistics availed by the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) yesterday, girls seemingly proved that they were academically superior to boys as another girls’ high school, Kriste Mambo, came second with a 98 percent pass rate from its 109 candidates.

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Monte Cassino, which in 2013 also recorded a 100 percent pass rate from the 82 candidates who sat for exams that year, repeated the feat last November after all its 83 candidates managed to pass at least five Ordinary Level subjects.

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Perched between two mountain ranges, Monte Cassino is situated about 7km south-east of Macheke, and has always done well academically, even during the time when Zimbabwe’s socio-economic environment hit rock bottom around 2008.

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The school was founded by Catholic missionaries in 1902 and has established a rock solid reputation for academic excellence.

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In 2012, the school featured in the Top 10 for both ‘‘A’’ and ‘‘O’’ levels, coming in at positions nine and seven respectively.

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Completing the 2014 national Top 10 schools at ‘‘O’’ Level are Nyanga High School (97,92 percent); St Dominics Chishawasha Secondary (96,84 percent); St Davids Bonda, another girls’ school (96,83); Zimbabwe Republic Police (94,89); St Ignatius College (94,52); Anderson Secondary School (93,85); Regina Mundi Secondary (93,48); and Knowstics Academy, which recorded a 92,98 percent pass rate.

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A total of 316 003 candidates sat for their ‘‘O’’ Level final examinations in November 2014. Of that number, 86 308 were female public school candidates and

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77 545 were female private school candidates.

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On the other hand, the total number of male public school candidates was 99 999, while

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52 151 were male private candidates.

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Esau Nhandara, Zimsec director, said yesterday that Zimbabwe had experienced an increase in ‘‘O’’ Level candidates of 30 743, a 10,77 percent spike from the 2013 figure of 285 260.

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“The November 2014 pass rate for school candidates was 22,38 percent and for private candidates it was 8,47 percent.

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“The performance of both school and private candidates was consistent with pass rates for 2013,” he said.

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The Zimsec boss added that the pass rates for both public schools and private candidates for November 2014 indicated that the reported examination leakages had not had a significant impact on candidates’ performance.

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“It would appear that in the English Language and Mathematics that had reports of suspected leakages in the first papers written, the performance of candidates in the papers that were re-sat was comparable to the November 2013 results,” he said.

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Nhandara added that the total number of candidates who sat for five subjects and above was 173 856 and that those who passed five subjects and above with Grade C or better were 36 031.

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“The overall pass rate for November 2013 was 20,72 percent, a 2,32 percent increase from November 2012 pass rate of 18,4 percent,” he said.- Daily News