Saturday, June 15, 2024

Ending the Grade 7 automatic progression to Grade 8 a welcome move – NAQEZ


The National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) has commended the government through the Ministry of Education for announcing that this year (2022) will be the last year for 100 percent automatic progression of learners from Grade 7 into Grade 8.

In the past few years, including in 2022, all learners who sat for the Grade 7 examinations have been allowed to progress to Grade 8 even when some of them failed the examination. Even without any academic justification, those who are not able to write their names have been forced into secondary schools. This has been torturous and impossible for secondary school teachers to handle such illiterate learners.

The National Action for Quality Education in Zambia Executive Director Aaron Chansa said in a statement that this 100 % progression of learners had been nationally condemned, academically suicidal and an enemy of quality education in Zambia.

Mr Chansa added that it is therefore, commendable that the Ministry of Education has ended this counterproductive practice in 2022, and he has since called on all Zambians to strongly support the new academic direction at grade 7 level because it will go a long way in improving the quality of education at secondary school level.

“We thank the Minister of Education, Hon.Douglas Siakalima, for providing good leadership on this matter,” he said

“As we celebrate the end of 100% progression of learners into Grade 8, we would like to insist on the introduction of serious transitional assessments from pre-school up to Grade 4. Using end of term and year tests, teachers should have discretionary powers to progress or repeat learners. With this system strictly in place, only academically suitable learners will be allowed to move from one grade to the next. This will also make our educational foundations strong, helping to improve the quality of teaching and learning in upper primary grades,” he mentioned

Mr Chansa disclosed that NAQEZ has further asked the Ministry of Education to drastically formulate a comprehensive agenda on how to implement the two-tier pathway which is in the curriculum, adding that the Grade 7 examination was meant to be a departure point for vocationally oriented learners and those academically gifted and at the moment, even those who are never academic in orientation are pushed into academic classes, this is being very unfair to vocationally gifted pupils and the teachers .

Today, Ministry of Education informed the nation during a press briefing that the 2022 Grade 7 candidates are the last to undergo the current grading system, which has no fail grade, adding that effective 2023, the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) will introduce a fail grade in order to end the automatic progression of learners from primary to secondary education and candidates who will fail the Grade 7 examination effective 2023 will have options, including repeating the Grade 7 examination to enhance quality.

The Ministry of Education further announced that a total of 493,932 candidates entered the 2022 Grade 7 composite examination. Of the 493,932 candidates who entered the examination, 255,825 (51.79%) were girls and 238,107 (48.21%) were boys. A total of 44, 393 candidates were absent. And of the 449,538 candidates who sat for the 2022 examination, 64,008 (14.24%) obtained division one, 121,490 (27.03%) division two, 96,356 (21.43%) division three and 167,684 (37.30%) division four.

The 2022 Grade 7 national progression rate is 100 percent. This means that all the 449, 839 candidates who sat the 2022 Grade 7 composite examination will progress to grade 8, under automatic progression.

And regarding the Grade 9 examinations, a total of 307,301 candidates entered the 2022 Grade 9 examination. A total of 22, 421 candidates were absent. Out of the 284,880 who sat for the examination, 136,587 (47.95 percent) were boys and 148,293 (52.05 percent) were girls. Of the 284,880 candidates who sat for the 2022 examination, 154,304 candidates (54.16%) obtained certificates. A total of 104,010 candidates representing 36.51 percent obtained statements.

The Ministry of Education has since set Monday 9th January, 2023 as open date for classes for the Grade 8 and 10, at the same time with the other grades, but with a grace period of two weeks up to Monday, 23rd January 2023.


  1. Why did the change that. Long time ago during our time, we used to site for exam and if you fail to don’t allowed to go to grade 8. That was the best way to do it not allowing even those who can’t even read to go to grade eight Period.

  2. That was how it used to be. Grade 7 compulsory pass before you go to form 1. Form 2 again compulsory pass before you go to form 3. Form 5 compulsory pass before you go to university.

  3. Big mistake, as you’re going to create an army of illiterates. Perhaps what GRZ needed to do was streaming – separating craft school, technical college and university streams.

    Why do you think Western countries have automatic progression?

  4. Zambia needs to educate as many citizens as possible academically. After school education you can sieve them for various needed industries. However currently Zambia doesnt have the resources to offer compulsory Grade 1 to Grade 12 education because there are no schools and teachers so the graduates will be poor too poor for tertiary education. Likein PF UNIP or MMD eras, all UPND ministers children will be sent to European and South African universities while poor citizens endure Third grade education

  5. Neither model of automatic progression or siting for national exams in grade seven is wrong. What is wrong is rubber stamping either model without understanding what the country is trying to achieve by adopting any model.

    The education system should be tailored at addressing and fulfilling specific national agenda. Not just a statistical machine to churn out certificates, diplomas, degrees or PhDs. It must be driven by the need to address an agenda, economic, social or otherwise. Having “educated” people who cannot articulate and solve real life problems is a disgrace. Zambia needs an education system overhaul to produce independent thinkers in all social-economic avenues to progressively contribute to the development of the country.

  6. How come we have people who did not go to grade 8? This is confusing unless you include those in basic schools and those we used to call productive unity…..otherwise if one failed grade seven cannot attend “normal” secondary or high school.

  7. Very good decision this will ensure quality education in Zambia, direct progression was a very bad decision causing learners to be lazy thus affecting the country

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