Bring back Grade 7 cut off points, NAQEZ demands

 Bring back Grade 7 cut off points, NAQEZ demands

By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
The National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) has demanded for the reintroduction of grade 7 cut off points to determine those that will progress into grade 8.

NAQEZ Executive Director Aaron Chansa says that they will not accept progression of all grade 7 examination candidates into grade 8 to avoid a panacea to low calibre of Secondary School learners in the country.

Mr Chansa said they will peacefully match against the 100% progression if a repeat of last year’s results happens next year.

He said that some learners even failed but were made to progress to grade 8 which is retrogressive.

Mr Chansa however said that they strongly believe that the new Minister of Education, Douglas Siakalima and his team will also not entertain this unpopular practice.

“The Ministry must therefore act now, in the best interest of quality education and the Country, as the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) will soon start marking these exams, we demand reintroduction of cut off points at grade 7 level, this reintroduction will help to raise academic competition and spur more hard work among primary school teachers, learners and parents,” he said.

Mr Chansa has suggested that only candidates, who will get more than 600 out of the 900 total marks at this level, should be allowed to get into grade 8 in January 2022.

“Zambians are fed up with having pupils in grade 8 who can’t even write their names. Without any doubt, this policy (automatic progression to 8) has been very offensive to attempts aimed at improving the ailing standards of education in Zambia,” he said.

Mr Chansa also appealed to the Ministry of Education to allow those who will fail these 2021 grade 7 examinations to repeat grade 7, in order for them to make academic amends next year.

“The current policy where the ECZ expires grade 7 examination numbers has proved fatal to the education system. It must be abandoned as it forces those who fail the exam to rush into grade 8, just to keep their exam numbers valid .It also pushes a lot of poor children, especially girls ,to drop out of school,” he said.

Mr Chansa said the education sector cannot keep such a poverty inducing policy when the national development plan aims at carrying all Zambians along.

He also proposed the introduction of transitional tests from preschool to grade 5 so that educational foundations can be strong and reliable as these tests will also allow academically suitable learners to progress from one grade to another.