By Staff Writers

Maseru, Jan 7 (The Night’s Watch) –The results are in for the 2019 Junior Certificate (J.C.) examinations, and to say they are bad would be an understatement because they are actually the worst the country has seen in the last decade – from 2010 to 2019.

According to the statement from the Ministry of Education and Training, the overall pass rate for the 2019 exam was shockingly low at an abysmal 62.4 percent, while the failure rate was outrageously high at a staggering 37.6 percent.

This was the first time in the last 11 years (2009 – 2019) that the country saw a pass rate lower than 65.0 percent and a failure rate higher than 35.0 percent, a fact attributed to several causes, among them, year-long teachers’ strike and inadequate teaching and learning facilities.

In its desperate bid to break the teachers’ strike, the government in September last year invoked the no-work, no-policy, a move which was described as draconian by Members of Parliament, civil society, opposition parties and teachers’ unions.

The teachers’ grievances included, among others, amendment of education policy, performance contracts, payment of outstanding salaries and allowances, salary arrears on their performance-based contracts dating back to 2009.

Teachers also wanted salaries that are corresponding with their academic and professional qualifications. They wanted government to weed out ghost workers from the payroll and evaluate the career and salary structure.

But Deputy Minister of Education and Training Kotiti Liholo on Monday blamed the poor pass rates on Mathematics, Science and Sesotho – a home language.

“Pass rate in these two subjects dropped by 18 percent. The learners struggled with questions regarding culture. In 2019, learners also showed little understanding of set books,” Liholo said.

He expressed disappointment that learners had performed poorly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, subjects which he said were drivers of productivity and growth in a world where advanced knowledge is widespread.

“This is very worrying especially in the midst of 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) – a centrepiece of modern education,” he said.

For the sake of comparison, let’s take a look at the results for the past few years from 2009.

Performance patterns over the period 2009-2019:

2009 71.1% 28.9%
2010 70.0% 30.0%
2011 69.3% 30.7%
2012 68.4% 31.6%
2013 71.1% 28.9%
2014 68.5% 31.5%
2015 68.4% 31.5%
2016 68.9% 31.1%
2017 69.5% 30.5%
2018 65.5% 34.5%
2019 62.4% 37.6%

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