Another target missed

Education ministry fails to achieve 45% university admission

11 January 2019 | Education

Only 40.4% of last year's full-time grade 12 ordinary level candidates have qualified for university admission, which is still way below the target set by the education ministry.

Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said there was a slight increase in the ordinary level learners qualifying for university admission - from 39.3% in 2017 to 40.4% in 2018.

“Although this is below the set target of 45%, it is still a move in the right direction,” she said yesterday.

The Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) had aimed to increase the percentage of learners meeting the admission requirements for universities (25 points) or a D symbol or 4 or better grade in English, from 29.5% in 2011 to 45% by 2018.

Hanse-Himarwa said that out of the 23 594 full-time learners who wrote the grade 12 ordinary level examinations last year, 9 524 candidates qualified for admission to universities in this year, compared to the 8 632 in 2017.

Out of the 21 104 full-time learners that wrote the ordinary level grade 12 examinations in 2016, only 7 772 qualified for university admission.

In 2015, out of the 20 322 full-time candidates, 6 065 (29.8%) learners qualified for university admission.

Hanse-Himarwa said yesterday that this year 37.8% of the candidates obtained an E and an F grading in English, and therefore may qualify for admission for diploma and certificate courses at other institutions of higher learning.

“In total, 78.2% of all the candidates may qualify for admission, should they wish to pursue their studies in degree, diploma or certificate courses at respective institutions of high learning.”

According to Hanse-Himarwa, a total of 56 543 learners - comprising of 23 594 full-time and 32 940 part-time candidates - registered for the 2018 examinations.

She said the results of the 2018 full-time and part-time candidates, combined, give a positive picture, with 0.5% decline in ungraded candidate entries when compared to 2017.

“The performances throughout all the grades improved, except for grades A and B that remained the same as in 2017,” she said.

She further pointed out that results have shown a gradual improvement since 2014, and are encouraging, as well as a move in the right direction.

In summary, 93.3% full-time, 82.6% part-time and 89.8% of the combined candidates were graded in various subjects during 2018 examinations.

With regard to the full-time candidates, Hanse-Himarwa said the gap has narrowed gradually over the years with English meeting the set target of 35%.

Mathematics improved from 41.7% in 2017 to 42% in 2018, but it is still below the target of 49%.

Physical Science dropped from 46.1% in 2017 to 43.6% in 2018, which is below the target of 51%.

The percentage of ungraded full-time candidates also dropped with 0.4% between 2017 and 2018.

The results for part-time candidates showed a remarkable improvement throughout all the grades.

An improvement could be seen in the intermediate grades with an average increase of 0.8%.

“The improved performance of the part-time candidates in all the grades is also a clear indication that more part-time candidates may qualify for admission at institutions of higher learning,” said Hanse-Himarwa.

“Notwithstanding the improved performance of 5.2% in English, the ministry has commissioned research into the persistent poor performance in English second language at the ordinary level. This research has been completed and the first draft produced,” Hanse-Himarwa said.

She encouraged all learners, parents and the entire public to create a reading culture and to visit libraries, as well communicate in proper English, instead of “SMS language”.