Zimbabwe Education Minister on why country had poor 2020 Grade 7 results


Zimbabwe’s Grade 7 results have been poor over the years because of access to teachers by learners, the economic environment which makes parents access resources to support their children in school, and access to electronic learning platforms as the learning environments change.

Education Minister Cain Mathema told Parliament yesterday that although only 37.1% of the Grade 7 pupils last year passed the examination this was much better than during the period 2009- 2014. Only 20.1% of the pupils passed in 2009.

“Attention needs to be drawn to the performance of Grade Seven examination candidates in the COVID-19 pandemic environment and that of 2009 to 2014 during the time of economic meltdown which affected learning by students,” Mathema said.

“During this period like in 2020, teachers were involved in industrial action (strikes) or were claiming incapacitation to carry out their work.  There was no meaningful teaching in some schools.  These are the factors that affect pass rates in any country in the world.”

Below is the full Ministerial statement


THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. SEN. MATHEMA):  Mr. Speaker Sir, this is the Ministerial Statement to Parliament on the 2020 Grade 7 Examination Results.  The 2020 Grade 7 examinations were written from the 3rd to 17th December 2020 in an environment which was unprecedented in the history of Zimbabwe and the world.

This was the COVID-19 pandemic environment that forced the examinations to be moved from the traditional timetable of October to December.  No single person or groups of persons knew when COVID-19 pandemic environment was going to end yet the academic lives of our students had to go on.  Many nations’ school calendars, including ours responded to the pandemic environment differently by providing learning platforms for children in both electronic and face to face formats.  As a nation, we had to make serious decisions to ensure that learners continued with their academic lives.


The Grade 7 examination marks the end of primary school by measuring what candidates know and are able to do.  After this examination, all students are absorbed in the secondary education system because the Grade 7 examination is not a terminal examination but a formative one which gives information to receiving teachers in the secondary school system.  Grade 7 examination is graded on a system that has the following nine grades:

  • Grade 1 – 85% to 100%
  • Grade 2 – 77% to 84%
  • Grade 3 – 70% to 76%
  • Grade 4 – 60% to 69%
  • Grade 5 – 50% to 59%
  • Grade 6 – 40% to 49%
  • Grade 7 – 30% to 39%
  • Grade 8 – 20% to 29%
  • Grade 9 – 0% to 19%

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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