219,581 grade seven (7)pupils who sat for examinations in 2009 have been selected to grade eight (8).
Education Minister Dora Siliya announced that from the total number of 307,191 candidates that sat for examinations in 2009, 111,407 boys and 108,174 girls were selected to grade eight with a progression rate of 71.48% compared to 65.44% in 2008.
Ms. Siliya observed that out of 340, 509 who entered for the examinations, a total number of 33,188 candidates were absent from the examinations.
She attributed this absenteeism to distances to examination centers, economic reasons, early marriages and early pregnancies, cultivation and high levels of poverty at household level.
The Minister however noted that the ministry has put in place measures to address the problems of absenteeism.
She named some of the measures as construction of more classrooms to reduce on the distance to examination centers, replacement of temporary structures with permanent ones and allowing more schools to register as examination centers among others.
Meanwhile, Ms. Siliya noted that of all candidates who sat for grade seven examinations in North Western province, 9,078 were boys and 7, 235 were girls while in Luapula Province had 10,511 boys and 7,484 girls.
The Minister also announced that a total number of 7,359 girls in Western province have been selected to grade eight.
She said this is due to the two provinces having more space available than the number of candidates that entered and sat for the examinations.
Ms. Siliya attributed the increase in the number of candidates selected in all the provinces to the expansion of the school infrastructure that the ministry has embarked on in all the provinces.
The Minister also announced that a total number of 228 candidates, 128 boys and 99 girls with special education needs were selected into grade eight from a total number of 250 candidates who entered for the examinations.
Ms. Siliya noted that it was the desire of her ministry to create more spaces for children with special education needs adding that more attention in the 2010 infrastructure development will be paid to special education units and schools.
She further announced that grade eight classes will commence on January 11, 2010 and the grace period ends on 22nd January, 2010.