Ray Bande and Emmah Chinyamutangira
MUTARE schools have dominated the 2018 Grade 7 examinations with the city’s bastion of excellence, Chancellor Junior, maintaining its dominance for the fifth straight year after producing the highest number of candidates with five units nationally.
Chancellor Junior had 28 candidates with five units from the 260 that achieved the same feat in Manicaland province.
The 2018 achievement was, however, lower than its performance in 2017.
In 2017 Chancellor Junior had 39 pupils with five straight units.
The introduction of Agriculture at Grade Seven as an examinable subject in 2017 saw a sharp dip in the number of candidates attaining five units across the country.
Mutare Junior was second with 25 pupils with five units followed Gaza Primary School, in Chipinge, with 20.
Baring Primary was fourth with 18, followed by Mt Mellary (Nyanga), St Joseph’s Primary (Mutare) and Murahwa Primary (Mutare) which all had 17 pupils with five units.
Elated Chancellor Junior head Mr Masimba Chihowa spoke glowingly of the teachers’ hard work, parents, district and provincial education offices’ support.
He said the hands-on approach in the introduction and expansion of an agriculture centre at the school had ensured that students grasped agricultural concepts with ease.
“As a school, we are very happy that we managed to maintain the top spot. I believe this was a result of the hard work and dedication by members of staff right from the bottom. The effort of the deputy head Mrs Tobline Mawire, the district and provincial education offices in seeing to it that teachers are well equipped cannot be underestimated. The parents’ efforts were fantastic.
“I really cannot narrate the story of our success without mentioning the agriculture centre, which has been expanding since inception. It has given our children an advantage by learning animal and aquatic life on site, let alone, the business facet of agriculture,” said Mr Chihowa.
He said they had already put behind the recent success and were at an advanced stage planning next year’s programmes.
Manicaland provincial education director, Mr Edward Shumba, congratulated all the top 10 schools for the sterling achievement.
He said the 2018 results, however, showed a decrease in pass rate for the province compared to last year.
Mr Shumba said Agriculture had caused the slight drop in standards since it was introduced as an examinable subject last year, which affected many schools’ performances.
He also cited English and Shona as problematic subjects.
“Despite the drop in average pass rate, Chancellor Junior continues to dominate the ZIMSEC Grade Seven examinations at 28 candidates with five units followed by Mutare Junior with 25 and Baring Primary with 20. Other notable performers are Gaza Primary (17), St Joseph’s Mutare (17), Mt Mellary Primary of Nyanga (17), St Joseph’s Primary (Rusape) (14), Dangamvura Primary (nine), John Cowie (nine) and St Jude’s Primary (nine).
“I have not yet looked at the results since I am away, but I am reliably informed that we are highest once again.
“We are yet to work out the average percentage pass-rate,” said Mr Shumba.
He added that they would convene a meeting on the subjects which were not done well and come up with strategies to improve them.
He said learners and teachers were lacking in the implementation of agriculture because of inadequate resources in some schools.
“We need to convene a meeting to come up with strategies to improve in the subjects, which were not performed well especially agriculture. The gap is now open for everyone to excel and let us put all effort to maintain our good standards. The pupils performed well in general paper and mathematics,” said Mr Shumba.
He attributed the schools’ success to hard work and commitment on the part of the learners themselves, teachers and parents as well as the numerous workshops organised by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education which have also helped equip them with the requisite syllabus interpretation skills.