With only two months remaining before Grade 7 learners sit for their 2022 composite examinations, National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) strongly urges the Ministry of Education to abolish the progression of all learners from Grade 7 into Grade 8.
In the past few years, all learners who sat for the Grade 7 examinations have been allowed to progress to Grade 8. Even without any justification, those who are not able to write their names are forced into secondary schools. This makes it torturous and impossible for secondary school teachers to handle such illiterate learners.
This 100 % progression of learners is nationally condemned, is academically suicidal and is an enemy of quality education in Zambia. The practice cannot be justified any longer and any delay in dreading it will have more severe consequences on the standards of secondary and tertiary education in the country.
As we call for the abolition of the 100% progression of learners into Grade 8, we would like also to insist on introduction of serious transitional assessments from pre-school up to Grade 4. Using end of term and year tests, teachers should have discretionary powers to progress or repeat learners. With this system strictly in place, only academically suitable learners will be allowed to move from one grade to the next. This will also make our educational foundations strong, helping to improve the quality of teaching and learning in upper primary grades.
NAQEZ further asks the Ministry of Education to drastically formulate a comprehensive agenda on how to implement the two- tier pathway which is in the curriculum. The Grade 7 examination was meant to be a departure point for vocationally oriented learners and those academically gifted, but at the moment, even those who are never academic in orientation are pushed into academic classes. This is being unfair and can be avoided.
To increase the literacy levels among primary school learners, it would be helpful to teach only two subjects , literacy and numeracy , between grades one and three.The current system of teaching them many subjects has proved unproductive.
We advise the Ministry of Education to call for a special indaba of educational stakeholders in order to provide a platform for an inclusive and consultative abolition of this retrogressive policy.
NAQEZ Executive Director