Columbus Mabika and Anesu Tonde
Most schools require better facilities and more resources to improve their pass rates in science and technology subjects, which are critical for accelerating economic growth.
Stakeholders in the education sector said the poor pass rate of 31,6 percent in science subjects during the November 2019 Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) examinations was a cause for concern.
During the session, 17 749 students sat for science subjects which are biology, mathematics, physics and chemistry but only 5 610 passed.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) chief executive Mr Sibusiso Ndlovu on Tuesday said Government should scale up provision of equipment needed for science subjects to ensure good pass rates.
He said some schools have failed to deliver because they lack enough and well-equipped science laboratories.
“That is the important area that we should address,” said Mr Ndlovu.
An ICT and Computer Science expert Mr Canaan Gatsi said Government should look at means of rasing the pass rate in science subjects at all levels.
“It is, therefore, important for our country to come up with practical mechanisms aimed at promoting a good science and mathematics pass rate from primary school right up to the highest level. For that to happen, there is need to have qualified teaching staff in those disciplines coupled with adequate resources,” he said.
Zimsec board chair Professor Eddie Mwenje said his board was equally concerned by the low pass rate in science subjects. “The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education needs to closely look into this area. There could be a number of factors which need further interrogation that could be contributing to poor performance in science subjects,” he said.
Prof Mwenje said science subjects require a lot of input and equipment, which most schools do not possess.
In 2015, Government introduced the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) oriented curriculum aimed at quickening industrialisation.
STEM, together with innovation and entrepreneurship skills, helps reduce unemployment, boost the industrialisation of the economy and empower youths through the promotion of science and innovation.
Science and technology have become the main sources of economic development across the world in recent times.