By Abubakarr Harding
It was disclosed that the pass rate of the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) has increased by 34 percent since the Free Quality School Education (FQSE) was introduced in 2018 under the leadership of President Julius Maada Bio.
In 2018, 97,726 pupils passed the NPSE out of the 123,394 pupils that took the exam; in 2022, 131,433 passed the exam out of the 162,068 that took the exam.
The results were released on the 11th July by the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. Moinina David Sengeh, which is the earliest release date in the last decade.
According to the Minister, this matters because it gives parents and families enough time to help their children and wards prepare for the new school year, noting that when families and children prepare, they perform better.
162,068 candidates entered the exam. That is 79,617 (49.1%) boys and 82,451 (50.9%) girls. 421 of these students are Sierra Leoneans in Guinea. For a third-year running, this is the highest number of students ever registered for this exam. Candidates sitting the exam numbered 161,797 – that is 79,477 (49.1%) boys and 82,320 (50.9%) girls.
“We have so far received results for 4,635 primary schools, 23 of which were in Guinea. 59 results are currently being with-held due to some form of irregularity that have been detected and reported by the West African Examination Council (WAEC). These irregularities range from impersonation to carrying foreign material into an examination room to collusion to entering the exam under false pretenses,” according to the Minister.
He said this year, from the 162,068, 131,433 candidates, comprising 65,152 boys and 66,281 girls, passed the NPSE in 2022, noting that these are candidates whose aggregate scores were on or above the cut-off score of 230 stipulated by the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education.
He said the total number of passes corresponds to an overall pass rate of 81.2% which is a 4.2% improvement from the overall pass rate in 2021 which was 77.0%.
According to the Minister, regionally the best performances were North, followed by South and Eastern Region and the top five best performing Districts are Falaba, Bonthe, Koinadugu, Kenema and Bombali respectively with the top 2 districts having over 90% pass rates.
“It is also worth noting that 10 districts, that is: Bonthe, Koinadugu, Kambia, Bo, Kono, Moyamba, Tonkolili, Western Rural, Port Loko and Karene had higher pass rates this year than last year. These districts are moving in the right direction and are worth commending,” he said.
Dr Sengeh said 1,071 out of 4,635 schools (23%) had 100% pass rates; that is, all their candidates who attempted the examinations passed, noting that this is an increase from the 20% of schools that had 100% pass rates in 2021. Apart from the Western Area, all other regions and Guinea had more schools getting pass rates of 100% this year than last year.
“Disappointingly, 114 schools across the country had zero percent pass rates. The Teaching Service Commission is already working with such under-performing schools and additional support is planned but as it usually happens, heads of schools with zero percent pass rates, accompanied by their proprietors, School Management Committee Chairpersons and District Deputy Directors of Education will be invited to explain the cause of the poor performance and to help map out actions to improve learning and performance in the affected schools,” he said.