By KASONDE KASONDE –
EIGHTY-THREE per cent of candidates who sat for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) examination this year have obtained certificates, representing a 16.7 per cent failure rate compared to last year’s 7.1 per cent.
General Education Minister Dennis Wanchinga said 123,096 candidates registered for the examination, which reflected a reduction in candidature by 1.35 per cent from the 124,780 who registered for the examination in 2016.
Dr Wanchinga also announced that 11,019 candidates sat for the first intake of the grade nine external examination, out of which 5,627 were male and 6,871 were female, with 330 candidates obtaining certificates.
He said of the 123,096 candidates who entered, 9,448 were absent, representing a national absenteeism rate of 7.68 per cent showing an increase of 1.35 per cent from 6.33 per cent in 2016.
Dr Wanchinga also said the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) conducted the external grade nine examinations for the first time following the separation from the internal candidates.
He said the introduction of the grade nine external examinations was meant to give an opportunity to people who desired to improve their results.
Dr Wanchinga said the failure rate at grade nine could be attributed to the separation of the candidates from the full-time pupils as there were a number of candidates copying during examinations and also there were adults conniving with young pupils to gain access to exam materials.
The minister said the grade nine external examinations recorded no cases of examination malpractices. However, a total of 743 cases of examination malpractices were recorded during the conduct of the 2017 GCE examinations, majority of which were impersonation and assistance in nature.