We congratulate the Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) on the well-managed 2023 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations.
This is a step in the right direction as it points to tightened examination security and improvement in the general administration of the examination and enhances the credibility of Maneb and the country’s education system.
However, the dismal performance of students in this examination has sparked fresh concerns among education experts, who are further concerned about results in community day secondary schools (CDSSs).
This year, 54.4 percent of candidates who sat the examinations have passed, a drop from last year’s 58.4 percent. Despite being fewer than CDSSs, conventional secondary schools have a pass rate of 68.06 percent against CDSSs 45.53 percent pass rate. Again, of the students that have failed, 60 percent are from CDSSs while 18 percent are from conventional secondary schools.
If an honest assessment is made of the status of the country’s secondary schools in the past few years, no one ought to be surprised that four years after these poor performers enter secondary school, they are unable to perform well in the MSCE examinations.
As the experts have observed, most schools lack learning materials, laboratories, qualified teachers and many other essentials that contribute to an enabling learning environment.
From what the commentators have said, it is clear thatthis is a complex problem and requires a multidisciplinary approach.
Improving student performance is a national imperative because the country cannot progress with an undereducated workforce. Where will the human capital come from to provide the goods and services that are necessary to drive economic development?
Government should, therefore, take the lead in the quest for solutions to the existing education challenges that analysts have laid bare. Radical actions may have to be taken for swift results that aim at turning around the situation of CDSSs. Every Malawian child deserves access to quality education, therefore, CDSSs should not be treated as a dumping ground for the poor.
The country expects that this MSCE results will create food for thought for top brass at caputal hill to interrogate the weaknesses in the education system and that serious attempts will be made that point to the way forward.