Photos of the day: Grade 9 ICT exams in darkness

Photos of the day: Grade 9 ICT exams in darkness

These photos were taken yesterday around 23 hours where children were still sitting for exams in Kaoma. This was the situation across the country; there was no power during most of the day and without power, you can’t switch on computers. So pupils had to wait for the 8 hours of load shedding to end. And when power was restored, pupils had to sit for exams in groups of tens or in some schools in groups of fives because schools had less than 10 computers to cater for more than 300 students in some cases. 

On March 13, 2015, the Watchdog published the following article:

Dear editor, Nearly everyone including the useless Judas Iscariots called Teacher Unions are singing praises about the new curriculum. They give an impression that all is well and rosy in our schools. But as you accurately stated, Dr. Phiri has left behind a messed ministry of education.

No one fully understands anything anymore. The situation is desperate. The new curriculum was hastily implemented by people who seemed to be pursuing something or were being pursued by something. It was introduced by people who were in a hurry to make a name that they had changed the nation’s curriculum. Their motivation to make a name over rode their sense of judgment.

They weren’t alive to the fact that what they planned wasn’t feasible. Another theory to the cause of such great haste could be that they were very convinced that the PF’s era would end with Mr. Sata’s impending demise. They had to quickly do it before a new government came into power that would rubbish their efforts. And I can now reliably tell you that we have an educational crisis from Grade one to nine as result of that rush. Their hurry has made educated teachers useless and mere observers and not participants in the education process. Allow me to share some of the concerns with the nation. Before any change was done, a normal government was supposed to make sure that all the books were produced and distributed to all the schools country wide. In this way teachers would have easily adapted. However, what schools have today are softcopies of the new syllabi and Grades ones and twos literacy books. The rest of the subjects from Grade one to nine have no books two years after the switch. New things were included in the syllabi. It’s from the syllabus were teachers derive their schemes and weekly forecast. For example, teachers have written schemes in Grade 2 integrated science. Yet most of the content they have schemed for can only be found in secondary science books and not the old grade 2 books. Teachers don’t know how to condense this content to a grade 2 level. Thus they skip some topics. And those who attempt to teach end up cheating. The same is true for the new subjects introduced like design and technology. Computer studies is now a compulsory subject at Junior secondary. This is despite the ministry knowing that the majority of its teachers are computer illiterates. Up to this day, other than the syllabus, the computer illiterate teachers haven’t been given text books to help them share their ICT hallucinations with the children.

I wonder how pupils will write the exams this year given that they are not learning effectively and correctly. Talking about exams, ECZ says that computer studies will have a theory and practical paper. The practical paper will be one and half hour long. Each pupil will be expected to have his/her computer and be able to type and print out a word or excel document. But up to date many of our schools do not have computers and teachers who are competent to use them. How will these exams come to pass? On the other hand, computers need power to run. Several rural schools have no power. A few have solar power which can’t run many computers at once. How will these thousands of basic schools manage to make their pupils have this exam? This year Grade nines will also be writing practicals in science. Science practicals are expensive to run. Most basic schools in rural areas have no apparatus. They don’t have the resources to buy beakers, beam balances and the like. The erratic grants government gives the schools are not even enough to buy simple things like chalk. How will they manage to buy all the requirements for practicals? Government should have supplied these schools with mobile labs. Since Mr. Lungu became president, he has shown no desire to address these issues. . He has given priority to bringing guns to the army and not books to the future leaders of this great nation. We also saw him destroy our hope by adopting another well known expert at creating chaos as education minister. The traitors in the teacher unions are far more concerned about allowances than engaging the government to address these serious concerns. A blogger once claimed that his Excellency failed to answer a caller who asked him about his education policy. Now that he is president it is apparent that indeed he has none. I think that man was right. As usual hide my I’d.

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