Minister of Education, Science and Technology William Susuwele-Banda has admitted the decision to abolish Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) examination has haunted Capital Hill following mounting pressure for its reintroduction.
But the minister has dismissed assertions recently made by some education activists who attributed poor results for the 2019 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examination to the discontinuance of JCE in 2015.
President Peter Mutharika approved reforms in the education sector in 2015, including the abolition of JCE examinations.
Briefing journalists in Lilongwe ahead of the 2019 World Teachers’ Day, Susuwele-Banda said the abolition of JCE now remains a ‘controversial’ issue which Capital Hill and other stakeholders must re-look into.
He said: “This issue still haunts us and is quite controversial now. If Malawians still want JCE back, government will work at that and see how we move forward.”
In this year’s MSCE examination, 46 771 out of 92 867 candidates who sat for the examination passed, representing 50.36 percent pass rate.
But the minister dismissed the automatic linkage between JCE abolition and the recent poor performance in the MSCE examination, arguing there are a lot of factors that might have affected the 2019 MSCE results.
He said: “Even bringing back JCE exams doesn’t mean students will automatically pass MSCE. We need to do a research and that is why we are now encouraging a health debate on the matter and see the way forward.”
In an interview on Wednesday, Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) executive director Benedicto Kondowe described the latest stance by government on JCE abolition as pleasing, but said Csec expects that debate to be “honest, open and candid”.