'MSCE results a reflection of curriculum change, JC abolishment'

Dr, Steve Sharra an education analyst

An education expert has warned that results of the recently released Malawi School Certificate of Education Examinations (MSCE), reflect the impact of the change in the curriculum and the abolishment of Junior Certificate of Education examinations.

In an interview with Kulinji, the expert Steve Sharra noted that following the change in the curriculum, there were delays in procuring materials as it took most schools time two years to three to get them.

He indicated this was unfair for students as schools run a four year cycle and not to have the necessary materials two years after introduction is disastrous.

Minister of Education, Science and Technology William Susuwele Banda agrees that the change in curriculum affected the results has been affected by the just reviewed syllabus.

Susuwele Banda explained teachers and learners needed more time to acquaint themselves with the new syllabus. He said critical thinking and knowledge application characterizes the new syllabus.

The minister, therefore, expressed need to immediately organise in-service training sessions for educators, to familiarise them with subject content and teaching and learning materials regarding the new syllabus.

Sharra, has since underscored the need for concerned parties to conduct a proper research to find real evidence behind the results.

“We really need to check this so that we don’t have a repeat of this. We need to ensure that schools are administering continuous assessment and check progress, and records must be there otherwise we’re not going to realize the intended benefits,” he warned.

Government’s decision to abolish Junior Certificate examinations (JCE) in 2016 received a backlash from commentators as most felt it was ill-timed and a big setback to the country’s education sector.

There is a 15 percent reduction of girls pass-rate in this year's exam

Commenting on the impact of the abolishment, Sharra faulted the decision as it was mainly based on financial problems.

He indicated that teachers were expected to assess learners frequently and this was supposed to be appropriately carried out.

“We should have put in place continuous assessment mechanisms, unfortunately we didn’t institute a continuous assessment regime to assess them,” he observed.

Out of a total of 98,332 candidates who registered for the examination 92,867 sat for the examination. 

During the Monday Susuwele-Banda also described the development as disappointing that 5.5% of the candidates absconded.

Sharra expressed concern over the same saying it might be due to pregnancies on the part of girls, suspensions and economic reasons.

“Education is an economic issue; you need money to succeed in this endeavour.

“If you don’t have the right support structure this can happen,” he said