EDUCATION

by Ben Taylor

Form 6 exam results surprise
Form 6 (A-level) exam results for 2014 were released in July, showing record high pass rates. The pass rate for all candidates was 96%, up from 87% in 2013. Those who achieved the best passes – Division 1 – numbered 3,773, up ten-fold from 325 the previous year. 27% of candidates achieved Division 2 passes, up from 12%.

Representatives of the Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) greeted the results with some scepticism. Ezekiah Oluoch, TTU Deputy Secretary General, called for the results to be investigated, arguing that the input was very different from the output. ‘I’m finding it very difficult to believe the results, majority of schools have no science laboratories, plus we are currently experiencing a shortage of over 5,000 science teachers for Form Five and Six level. We need to inquire a number of things, like the kind of standardisation used this year and the nature of the questions asked. Also was the marking system and grading “massaged”.’

The much-improved results are possibly linked to the introduction of a new grading system. The scores required for Grades A, B, etc. have been lowered. But students now need a better combination of grades in individual subjects in order to achieve Division 1, etc.

Previously, a score of 81% or higher on a particular exam was required to achieve Grade A in that subject, now a score of 75% is sufficient. In past years, a score of between 60% and 80% achieved a Grade B, while now a score between 50% and 75% achieves that grade. For an overall Division 1 pass, 9 points (Grade A=1, B=2, C=3, etc.) from three subjects used to be required.. This has now been reduced to a maximum of 7 points for Division 1. (The Citizen)

Low employability of university graduates
A survey of employers across East Africa has found widespread dis­satisfaction at the employability of university graduates. The study, by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), polled employers in five countries.

In Tanzania, the study found that 61% of graduates lacked basic job market skills, compared to 63% in Uganda, 55% in Burundi, 52% in Rwanda and 51% in Kenya.

The report claims that the quality of university education has fallen as student numbers have risen, blaming the lack of adequate teaching staff. (The East African)

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