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St Faith's sets new A-Level record

by Staff reporter
18 Jan 2019 at 12:05hrs | Views
ST FAITH'S High of Rusape continued its strong tradition of academic excellence when it attained its highest ever examination outcome with 41 students scoring 15 points or better in the November 2018 Zimbabwe School Examinations Council Advanced Level examinations.

These are the best qualitative results in the country.

St Faith's was in 2017 ranked the best performer nationwide with 33 15 pointers and this year the outcome was even superb and represents its best-ever performance in history.

The quality of passes in Manicaland surged drastically as 207 candidates attained 15 points or better when compared to 169 and 122 in November 2017 and 2016, respectively.

The 2018 stream was the first to write exams under the new curriculum and the summative assessment serves as a barometer to tell teachers, parents and government whether or not the content was being mastered by the students, while doubling as a quality control to judge school performance.

Provincial education director Mr Edward Shumba attributed the shift, which includes significant increases in students excelling in sciences to savvy students aiming to secure places by following the list of subjects promoted by leading universities.

Government and business applauds candidates taking — science, technology, engineering and maths — and the increase in A grades was caused by savvy students competing for places at selective university courses and a change in teaching strategies at some schools.

"These are the first results of the new curriculum, and they are incredible given the fact that there was an assortment of challenges along the way. We salute St Faith's High once again for raising the Manicaland flag very high," said Mr Shumba.

Mr Shumba warned poor performing schools arguing that exceptional results demand exceptional circumstances and teachers as an important catalyst for improvement should continually ask themselves 'how can we do this better'.

"There are two aspects to this — one, the student capabilities, and to those schools that continue to fare badly I want to say it's unacceptable to be the last because you cannot have bad students all the times. Second, it's about resources — material and human resources.

We will take an audit of how best we can interpret the new syllabus correctly, because you can teach, but teach astray for as long as the interpretation is not in sync with the expectations. On material resources, are the text books there; are the schools not relying on old textbooks that do not answer to the new demands of the new curriculum. We need to clean the entire boardroom to move ahead progressively," said Mr Shumba.

St Faith's High was closely followed by Knowstics, which had 30 students with 15 points. Knowstics was the second best in 2017 with 20.

St Dominic's High again, was the only day to gate crash into the top three club — often a preserve of well-resourced boarding schools — with 20 students who scored 15 points.

St David's Bonda Girls High was fourth with 14 students, while Kriste Mambo and St Augustine's were tied at number five with 12 candidates apiece.

Hartzell High was seventh with 11 candidates followed by Nyanga High (Marist Brothers) and Ellis Gladhill that had eight 15 pointers apiece.

Nyazura High was ninth with six 15 pointers followed by Marange High which had five. Emmanuel High was 10th with four 15 pointers followed by Mt Selinda High with three.

Vengere High, Mutambara High, Rusitu High, Mutare Boys High, Dangamvura High and Regina Coeli were tied at number 12 with two 15 pointers apiece.

11 other schools had one candidate each with 15 points.

St Faith's High head Mr Moses Mukoyi described the 2018 A-Level results as a "very special send off" to retirement.

He retires next month after 26 years at St Faith's High helm.

"Absolutely fantastic, this great school rides on an institutionalised success momentum that is remarkably consistent. We have evolved into a brand thanks to the wonderful staff, students and parents. It is a very special send off, richer than all the gold in the world…will eternally cherish being part of this incredible achievement," said Mr Mukoyi.

What is particularly significant about St Faith's High is the high achievement of students in the demanding, hard and facilitating subjects such as maths, further maths and other sciences that universities favour much.

However, the participation gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students in high schools remains unacceptably wide, and something needs to be done to address it.

Boarding schools like Mavhudzi High, Biriiri, St Benedict, Lydia Chimonyo, St Columbus, Chibuwe High, Chikore High, Mutare Girls High, St Killians, Makumbe High, Karirwi High and Hande High, among others, despite being well resourced, were among the worst performing schools.

Most days schools in Manicaland are also in this category and their poor performance has been blamed on the presence of poor teachers, indiscipline among students and lack of material resources.

The 2018 pass rate stood at 81,9 percent, and slightly below the 82,6 percent recorded in November 2017.

46 478 sat for the exams compared to 49 494 in 2017.

45 570 candidates wrote two or more subjects with 38 050 obtaining Grade E or better.

Geography had the lowest pass rate of 54.71 percent while other subjects recorded over 75 percent.

Of the candidates who sat for the examination, 21 457 were males, 21 186 of them wrote at least two subjects and 17 643 passed with two or more subjects, translating to 82.2 percent pass rate.

Source - chronicle