Thoughts on Prof Mutambara’s article

By Prof Changamire

The learned professor Mutambara raises fair points but misses a crucial systematic fact in his analysis. The concentration of passes at certain schools is a direct result of a formula applied by certain high performing schools in this country. A school that refuses to enrol A level learners with less than 5 As at O-level is likely to get high passes. On this point I believe it is recruitment more than the structure of exams which is the problem in my opinion.

Mutambara speaks of Cambridge as a more thorough system, this is a conversation which finds its root and is located within a nostalgic elitist viewpoint. There are no facts to prove there were no similar passes obtained by those who wrote Cambridge but again it is a matter of density. For every child who writes Cambridge, there could be 200 who write Zimsec. Simple probability will show where the most passes are likely to lie.

Thirdly, a solution to this headache was already suggested at Government level. When Lazarus Dokora introduced the competence based curriculum (which has since been defiled expediently) he centred it around measuring technical competence together with theory. This is why the new curriculum is called competence based curriculum. It had a course work component, which was to contribute 30 percent of the final mark and ensure learners are not coached to pass exams but are taught to internalising knowledge as well as apply it.

I identify Mutambara’s argument within the broader need for decoloniality in our Education. We cannot alter a country’s education system to appease a few Ivy League institutions in America and England. The reason why old age Cambridge in Zimbabwe had fewer glowing passes was because of the bottlenecking system which was meant to ensure only a few black people occupy critical spaces in the economy. We are still grappling with the results, this is why we still have people who boast to be lone surgeons and experts in specific fields. I find his praise for Western examination systems to be ahistorical.

Respectfully I think it is good that he has ignited the conversation but I believe he has misdiagnosed the problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enjoy our stories? Please spread the word: