As Standard Eight learners are expected to start sitting for their Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education (PSLCE) examinations tomorrow, education rights campaigners in the country have predicted that there is likely to be low pass rate among the candidates.

Among other reasons, the analysts have cited the long school break due to the Covid-19 pandemic which limited teaching time and that the government had just introduced a new syllabus.

Educationist Steve Sharra argued that the three weeks—given to the learners to prepare for the examinations— are not enough to cover the remaining chunk of work and said it would have been a good idea if the government gave the learners more time to cover the remaining work.

“I fear for the outcome because the time was not enough for thorough preparations for both the teachers and the students and it would have been better if they wrote the examination around late October or early November,” Sharra said.

Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) Executive Director, Benedicto Kondowe, concurred with Sharra, adding that spot checks that his organisation has been conducting in many districts have shown that teachers had a lot of pressure to cover “too much work” in a short period.

But, Lexon Ndalama, another education rights activist is of the view that the situation is understandable because the country has not been spared the Covid-19 pandemic and that education has to continue.

“We should appreciate that we are handling a pandemic and we must understand the decisions being made because education must go on. Of course, this could have a negative bearing in the future,” Ndalama said.

There was a slight drop in the 2019 PSLCE examination pass rate where 77.46 percent of learners passed compared to 2018 when out of the 279,084 candidates who sat for the examinations, 210,324 passed, representing a 79.39 percent pass rate.

Form Four examinations are expected to start on October 27.

Government closed schools for a period of about five months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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