Guess what? I was in the group that sat for the last time Standard Five national examinations. So, although I did not collect certificate from Chilinde LEA Primary School in Lilongwe, I am a holder of that certificate. If the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has good record keeping, there should be that record or at least the National Archives must be holding these documents for posterity.
If you would allow a digression, the United States does not have an equivalent of a Ministry of Education. Its Department of Education is, among other things limited to establishing policies on federal financial aid for education and administering programmes and funds and prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.
The United States Federal government (the Obama Administration) does not own, control or oversee US schools or post-secondary institution; inspect, accredit, or license schools, postsecondary institutions, or other educational providers; set curricula or content standards for academic or professional subjects; hire or license faculty or other educational professionals; set educational standards for the admission, enrollment, progress, or graduation of students at any level; set standards, licence, or regulate professional occupations or practising professionals (other than federal civilian and military personnel). It is really hands off most of what our Ministry of Education deals with on a day to basis.
We have a situation here in Malawi, for example, the removal or as I would like to call it, the abolition of the Junior Certificate of Education (JCE). Some people have suggested that “removing JCE is not a reform to me. Indeed, Maneb just looked at the economic side. The problem is that we align JCE to employment. JCE is there for assessment, after two years of secondary education how are students performing. Apart from this, the MSCE results are very poor at the moment. The majority of secondary schools are CDSSs (community day secondary schools), which are poorly resourced and most of the teachers are under qualified.
In short, the current environment does not warrant us to remove JCE. Moreover our secondary education comprises four years only as we do not have A levels. Personally, the reform would have involved the way the exams are administered. May be reducing the number of subjects to six only so that they can cut costs instead of writing 12 or 14 subjects. Some subjects should not be examinable.
What is the real impact of abolishing JCE? You hear people discussing the impact of this event. For me though, I believe we can speculate all we want. But the impact, real impact of this policy decision will be known in the future. If we would have lost a generation by this policy, it will be after we have such a generation of unlearned people that we are going to realise what we have just done.