By Anna Chibamu
A high number of public schools are registering zero percent pass rate as the government fails to recruit over 15 000 teachers while prices of learning material have astronomically increased, Education Minister Cain Mathema has said.
In a ministerial statement released in Parliament Thursday, the minister said government was concerned with the high percentage of schools producing zero pass rates.
Parents were also failing to buy learning material with some textbooks selling for up $1 000 each. Government has since stopped supplying textbooks and other learning material.
“There are a number of schools which are registering zero percent pass rates in all provinces. There are many reasons to that and among them is the shortage of teachers,” Mathema said in a statement read on his behalf by Sports Minister, Kirsty Coventry.
However, Mathema did not give figures of how many schools had produced zero pass rates from the results of Grade Seven final examinations released this month.
“Schools have shortages of teaching and learning materials for the competency based curriculum as well as high costs of books which are going for more than $1 000 each at times,” the minister said.
He explained that in 2020, the ministry had been authorised by Treasury to recruit 5000 teachers to reduce the zero percent pass rate.
Mathema said the 2020 budget allocation for his ministry was inadequate to meet the demand for teaching and learning materials for most of the country’s public schools especially rural day schools and satellite schools.
“Teaching and learning space in schools is still grossly inadequate. For example, some schools are still using tobacco barns and grass thatched classrooms, animal handling facilities and some schools are operating without specialist rooms like design and technology laboratories and workshops,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mathema has warned schools against charging exorbitant fees, which most parents cannot afford.
“Fees charged by schools are exorbitant and beyond the reach of most parents. As a ministry, we are collecting information on schools and levies being charged by schools. The fees are increased through a decision by parents at properly constituted meetings and schools should adhere to the decisions and recommendations of the School Development Committees.”