An investigation into an “unusual trend” observed by the Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) has left around 200 standard seven leavers not knowing how they performed in the 2015 Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE).
Three schools are at the centre of this inquiry.
Announcing the release of results for the 829 other centres excluded from the probe Friday, BEC management said standard seven results for Mulambakwena Primary School in the North East District, St Patrick’s Primary School in Mahalapye and Kgosi Sebele 1 Primary in Molepolole were withheld pending a six-weeks inquiry.
This follows the BEC board’s advice that as opposed to withholding all the results to allow investigators to come to the bottom of what BEC’s executive secretary, Brian Mokopakgosi only described as an “unusual trend”, the trio be the only ones delayed.
Mokopakgosi, who could not be drawn into discussing this “unusual trend”, said until investigations were over, BEC was limited to say what caused the suspicion. He added BEC’s operations were premised on international standards, hence unusual developments in the examining process were subjected to thorough investigations.
He said BEC took any change or trend seen in the examination process seriously. Until BEC satisfied and fully informed itself of what led to the trend that was recorded in the three schools, it could not state with certainity what the problem was.
“Nobody is saying a wrong has been done here,” he said. “This investigation is being carried out due to suspicions based on trends.”
He added: “When a high performing centre declines we get worried and the need to look deeper into the matter is necessary. We are not saying there has been any wrongdoing here. We need to remember that we are dealing with children, parents and teachers who need to be accorded due respect as investigations continue. No one has to be blamed for anything yet.” Last week, BEC dispatched its top management to engage stakeholders at the affected schools to explain the situation, according to Mokopakgosi. The probe will go on for six weeks. The board has stressed that the probe be hastened to avoid inconveniences to involved parties.
A common thread between St Patrick’s Primary School and Sebele I Primary School is that they are among the best performing schools nationwide. Mulambakwena Primary School in North Botswana has been coming up well too.
Last year, it was named the most improved school after scoring 96.3 percent of ABC grades compared to the 65.1 percent garnered in the same grade category in 2013.
The fact that learners’ progress automatically from this level to junior secondary schools means the investigation will not affect the Form 1 academic year as placement has already been done in some regions.Meanwhile, an insignificant improvement in the 2015 PSLE performance is reported as most candidates have performed at the same level as in 2014, though agriculture has seen an improvement of five percent.
“Overall, there is a slight increase of 0.58 percent in the candidates awarded grades A to C, at 69.16 percent in 2014 which is not significant,” says the results summary from BEC.
With the decline of the national pass rate having been a headache for sometime now, it is interesting to note the BEC says generally, the performance across the pass grade has seen minimal improvement in the past three years.
“The general A to C performance of the candidature has been steadily increasing since the last four years from 2012 to 2015, while females have been constantly outperforming their male counterparts,” says BEC.
There was a 0.6 percent decrease in this year’s PSLE candidature, which totaled 42, 553 relative to last year’s 42, 797 as well as the 43, 788 who took these exams in 2013.