Thursday, February 29, 2024

Stakeholders express concern over the 100 percent failure rate at a school in Kalumbila District


Stakeholders have expressed concern over the failure to progress to Grade 10 by all the 38 pupils who sat for Grade Nine Examinations last year at Mumena A Secondary School in Kalumbila District of the North Western Province.

ZANIS on Monday broke the news that Kalumbila district education board secretary Mutinta Mubanga’s office was in receipt of a report about the 100 percent failure rate at the school.

Ms. Mubanga has since constituted a team to investigate what led to the historic poor performance by pupils at the school, which has most teachers with university degrees.

Ms. Mubanga says the matter is receiving active attention from her office.

Meanwhile, United Party for National Development (UPND) Mumena ward chairperson Jameson Kahokola revealed this to Solwezi West Member of Parliament Nicholas Mukumbi during a stakeholders’ meeting over the weekend.

Mr. Kahokola said parents in the district are wondering how all the 38 pupils failed the examination.

“We are very much worried about the results for our pupils at Mumena A Secondary School,” he said.

Concerned parents together with Chief Mumena convened a meeting with the teachers at the school to understand why all the children failed.

Former Councilor for Mumena Ward Pearson Musele said it is disheartening to learn that in this era schools could fail to produce one child to ascend to the next level of education.

“It is shameful to the school management and the community to record such a bad result in the 21st century when the world is going through an E-system,” he told reporters.

“My appeal to my fellow parents is that let’s encourage our children to distill school activities rather than involving them in activities such as farming and other activities, and the teacher go back to your drawing board to find what had caused the failure and other contributing factors to fail,” he said.

He said that even parents who had children who sat for examinations from other schools and were selected to go to Mumena A’ Secondary School have refused to take their children there fearing that they will fail at Grade 12.

Meanwhile, National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) says the 100 % failure rate at Mumena Secondary School is an academic taboo.

NAQEZ Executive Director Aaron Chansa demanded a serious inquiry into this matter with immediate effect.

“National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) finds it extremely difficult to believe the fact that all the 38 candidates who sat for the 2021 Grade 9 exams at Mumena A Secondary School failed. This development is not only shocking but also an academic taboo.As we demand a serious inquiry into this matter, the ugly reality at Mumena School in Kalumbila District of North Western Province has raised fundamental academic, social and cultural questions about this school, our Education system and society as a whole,” Mr. Chansa said.

“The nation will be looking forward to an honest scan of the academic background of the said candidates, the absenteeism rate by both teachers and learners, the school environment, teacher motivation at the school, the attitude of the learners and the community towards school as well as the relationship between teachers and the school administration,” he said.

Mr. Chansa added:”Findings about the factors mentioned above will help to make genuine amends. As an organisation, we would like the Ministry to further investigate the levels of parental support the school received, the commitment of teachers to work as well as availability of teaching and learning materials at the affected school.”

“Finally but crucially, what has happened at Mumena, in the view of NAQEZ, has something to do with automatic progression of Grade 7 learners into grade 8.If this policy will not be abandoned, we fear for more academic disasters in Zambia,” he said.


  1. The problem is whether the pupils fail or pass, the teachers will always get paid. Performance based remuneration should be introduced. You can’t say that all these pupils are dull. That’s not possible.

  2. Perhaps the students are very well educated but have not been taught to the test. Passing is simply a case of being taught by rote, even the most intelligent can fail where the test itself is flawed. However it is obviously of concern where the fail rate is so high.
    We should also ask ourselves whether an education system which holds pupils back continually because they fail to pass an intermediate exam, rather than grade 12, is desirable. It may be better to examine students to prepare them for exams but not to make progress to the next year conditional on a pass or fail of a centrally set exam. Centralised exams are about whether pupils know what to write to meet a very specific and narrow question. Not about how well educated they are.

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