The Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) announced withholding the Religious Education (RE) results from three centres following the release of Form Five November 2018 results.
The Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) results showing a slight improvement of 0.5 percent were released on Friday.
Officially announcing the BGCSE results, BEC executive secretary, Professor Brian Mokopakgosi said in a media brief that the BEC with the involvement of BEC board decided to withhold the results of RE at three centres.
He said investigations into results of the three centres were ongoing and will only be released after the investigations.
Mokopakgosi said BEC decided to release the BGCSE results and withhold RE results from those centres, though not all the learners are affected.
“There was no way we could withhold the whole BGCSE results because we are still investigating results of certain learners in some schools, not all of them. It would have been unfair to other learners,” Mokopakgosi said.
He said the entire of Southern African region has released their BGCSE results and Botswana is the one that always has its results come out late.
“We are hopeful to conclude the investigations within the six weeks of queries before certificates are released. We have only withheld RE results amongst those schools not all results. This is not a terrible thing in education. It does happen and we always conduct through investigations before we could release such results in making sure that all students are given the marks they deserve,” Mokopakgosi said.
Mokopakgosi said examinations results are something serious to an individual like one’s health and as such they need extra scrutiny before they are to be released to the owner.Commenting on the matter, the director of product development and standards, Sheila Barungwi said BEC also has to crosscheck such students’ performance thoroughly.
“We have been checking them, but have establish that there are certain things that we cannot disclose at this moment hence the reason to withhold the said results. We have written letters to the concerned schools informing the school management about what transpired,” Barungwi said.
Barungwi stated that proper channels would be followed with the concerned schools’ management in addressing the matter in an appropriate way with the concerned students and their parents.
Mokopakgosi told The Monitor that he was not in a position to disclose the names of the schools concerned and will only be in the position to do so after they have informed all affected schools.
A letter referred to St Joseph’s College from BEC concerning the withheld RE results has been circulating on social media.
A total of 32,470 candidates wrote the 2018 examinations showing a decrease of 12.8% in candidature compared to the 2017 cohort of 37,251. There were 13,537 (41.69%) male candidates and 18,933 (58.31%) female candidates sitting for the 2018 BGCSE examination. Since the BGCSE is a subject-based certificate with no aggregation, the measure used to gauge the performance of candidates is the proportion of candidates who were awarded Grade C or better in five syllabi. This year 24.56% candidates from government and government-aided schools were awarded Grade C or better in five syllabi compared to 24.05% in 2017.
This shows a slight improvement of 0.51 percent, indicating that the two cohorts were more or less of the same quality.
In 2018 there were 23,026 (70.91%) candidates from government and government-aided schools compared to 25,802 (69.27%) in 2017 and 9,444 (29.09%) private candidates compared to 11,449 (30.74%) in 2017.
The private candidates’ category included 1,156 (3.56%) Back-to-School candidates, 1,354 (4.17%) candidates from Private Schools and 8,090 (24.92%) Private Candidates. The private candidates are from BEC centres and Botswana Open University centres.