The pass rate in the 2019 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) has decreased by 12.9 percent as compared to last year’s which is also the lowest for the past nine years.
In a joint press briefing where they announced the MSCE results in Blantyre on Monday, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), in conjunction with the Malawi National Examination Board (Maneb), said out of 92 867 candidates who sat for the 2019 MSCE examinations in at least six subjects including English, 46 771 have qualified for the award of the certificate, representing 50.36 percent (%) pass rate.
The figures represent a 12.9% decrease in the pass rate compared to last year when 124 745 candidates passed out of 197 287 who sat for exams. This represented 63.23 %.
This year, Arthur Promise Chibondo of Zomba Catholic Secondary School scored six points followed by six candidates scoring seven points each. While in last year’s MSCE examination results, no one scored an aggregate of six points with the highest scoring seven points.
In an interview after the announcement of the results, Maneb executive director Gerald Chiunda attributed the pass rate decrease to the change in curriculum, adding that this was the first examination for the new secondary school curriculum.
Said Chiunda: “Most students performed poorly in English Literature because they [expected] questions from books they had read, but we only asked questions based on the new books. In this year’s MSCE results, candidates have performed poorly as compared to the past four years.”
Chiunda however, commended his staff and other examination stakeholders such as police officers and invigilators, among others, for ensuring that the 2019 MSCE examination was leakage free.
In his remarks, Minister of Education, Science and Technology William Susuwele-Banda said the 2019 MSCE examination results are a mirror of what is going on in the country’s secondary schools as they are significant in three aspects.
“Firstly, it was the first examination for the new secondary school curriculum. Secondly, the cohort that sat for this examination did not write Junior Certificate Examinations, implying that it is the first cohort to take MSCE examinations after the abolishment of JCE examination. Thirdly, the cohort mostly comprised candidates who had been full-time learners,” he said.
Sususwele-Banda further said his ministry recognises that MSCE examination results are an important indicator of the quality of teaching and learning in the country’s secondary schools.
He said to further fulfill this role, just as was the case with Primary School Leaving Certificate Examination (PSLCE), Maneb has again ranked schools and candidates according to their performance.
“To a large extent, the ranking of schools will motivate schools that have not performed [well] to reflect on their approaches to teaching and learning and find means for addressing their weaknesses in order to produce better results in subsequent MSCE examinations”, said Susuwele Banda.