THE Junior Certificate (JC) 2017 pass rate has improved by 0.6 percent from 68.9 percent in 2016 to 69.5 percent in 2017, the Minister of Education and Training, Mokhele Moletsane announced this week.
Speaking at a News Briefing held at the ministry, Mr Moletsane said of the 20,913 students who sat for the exams, 14,533 (69.5 percent) passed.
Last year, a total of 21,287 candidates had registered for examinations, and of these, 20,913 sat for the exams while 374 did not go through with the final examination.
“This year’s performance has slightly improved compared to 2016 because of an increase in the number of students who obtained first class with merit, first and third classes. However, there was a decrease in the number of students who passed with second class,” Mr Moletsane said.
A total 344 students (1.6 percent) obtained first class with merit; 1,398 (6.7 percent) had first class pass; while in the second class, there were 10,232 students (48.9 percent); and a total 2,559 students (12.2 percent) attained third class pass.
Mahase Ithateng of Leqele High School took the first position followed by Mapeshoane Manehella Khahliso (Lesotho High School); Mothae Mapuleng Christina (Lesotho High School); and Pule katleho Gladys (Lesia High School) in second position.
In third position were Maliehe bataung (Leribe English Medium High School) and Peete Mamasilonyane (Methodist High school).
Mr Moletsane congratulated all students who excelled in their examinations. He however expressed concern over the performance, explaining that only a handful of schools were producing quality grades.
“A total 326 candidates who performed exceptionally well are from only 18 schools out of 341 schools. It is a concern that 26 percent of the students who attained outstanding performance were from one school,” Mr Moletsane said.
He said one of the factors that could be attributed to this uneven pass rates might be the selection process that allowed certain schools to admit only the best learners in the country.
“We are looking at addressing this challenge through a new selection system we have just introduced.”
He explained the new system will allow students to be enrolled in schools close to their homes thus distributing candidates evenly among all schools without any discrimination.
“This is one of the steps we are implementing toward achieving quality education for all students in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 4. It Is the responsibility of the government, teachers, parents and other actors to ensure the improvement of education quality so that we do not have students from a few schools outshining others.”
He raised concern over poor performance in Quthing district, which came last, adding the ministry was in the process of introducing various measures to improve the pass rate.
“One of the steps we are taking is to develop a language policy, as one mechanism that will remove the language barriers in the education sector,” Mr Moletsane said.
Explaining performance by district, he said Butha- Buthe obtained the highest pass rate at 74.6 percent; followed by Leribe with 73.2percent; Mafeteng 72.4 percent; Berea 70.9; Mokhotlong 70.8 percent; Maseru 69.8 percent, Qacha’s Nek 64.8 percent; Mohale’s Hoek 64.5 percent, Thaba-Tseka 56.3 percent; and in the last position Quthing with 55 percent.