Ministry of Education yesterday announced the 2023 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examination results which show that 70 286 candidates failed and that community day secondary schools (CDSSs) are the worst performers.
The results also show that Catholic Church-managed secondary schools dominate the best 10 performing schools list with a score of nine out of 10. Dedza Secondary School, a Ministry of Education national school, is the only government school in the top 10 led by Marist Secondary School.
The list further shows that the three Mtendere Campus schools in Malirana, Dedza, namely Marist, St Kizito Seminary and Mtendere Secondary School form the top three in that order.
Speaking during the announcement of the results, Deputy Minister of Education Nancy Chaola-Mdooko said the ministry will look into factors that have led to the poor performance of CDSSs in this year’s MSCE results which have registered an overall decline in pass rate of 54.4 percent, down from 58.4 percent in 2022.
She acknowledged the decline in the pass rate from last year, adding that the ministry will make every effort to make sure that education is improved in Malawi.
Said Mdooko: “We have seen that in most of the community day secondary schools, our students have not done well. As a ministry, we are surprised with the decline in the pass rate, and we will find out what is the cause of the decline.”
However, most CDSSs are largely ill-equipped both in terms of learning and teaching materials.
A total of 154 132 candidates sat the examination out of which 83 846 have passed, representing an overall pass rate of 54.40 percent.
Chaola-Mdooko also pointed out that the examinations were leakage-free, adding the ministry remains committed to improving the quality of education in the country, and will diligently look into the factors that have negatively affected the performance.
In her remarks, Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) executive director Professor Dorothy Nampota said there was poor performance in some specific subjects such as Chichewa, Social Studies and Life Skills while other subjects like Chemistry and Mathematics registered improvements.
She said: “The results are valid, but the performance has been poorer as compared to last year. In terms of specifics, we saw that some students struggled in Chichewa. A lot of students did not do well.
“But at the same time, we have seen improvement in the performance of candidates in some science subjects like Mathematics and Chemistry. But I think that the overall performance has been pulled down by a pass rate in some subjects like Chichewa and Life Skills.”
Nampota further observed that although the examinations were leakage free, there were cases of cheating, with some four candidates found with notes in the examination room, while one was found with a mobile phone with notes.
She said in another incident, an individual was found in an exam room writing an examination paper for another candidate.
Nampota said all candidates involved in these malpractices were disqualified. She, however, did not disclose the examination centres where these incidents occured.
The 10 best performing districts in the examinations are Dedza, Zomba Urban, Chitipa, Karonga, Dowa, Mzuzu City, Phalombe, Nkhotakota, Mulanje and Likoma.
On the other hand, the bottom 10 performing districts include Machinga, Nsanje, Thyolo, Lilongwe City, Zomba Rural, Blantyre Rural, Chikwawa Rural, Lilongwe Rural East, Rumphi and Balaka.
Mdooko emphasised that the ministry is currently constructing extra classrooms, ICT laboratories and science laboratories as a way to improve the quality and performance of education in the country.
The results have been announced seven weeks after the examinations were administered, a departure from the norm where usually, government releases results after about three months.