Education minister seeks explanation for examination grading system shift


The Minister for Education, Science and Technology and Vocational Training, Prof Joyce Ndalichako
 The  Minister for Education, Science and Technology and Vocational Training, Prof Joyce Ndalichako, yesterday gave the National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA) seven days to furnish her with scientific explanation behind the shift of grading system from division to Grade Point Average (GPA).
 
The minister issued the directive  in Dar es Salaam during her meeting with National Examination Council  (NEC) of Tanzania executives following ‘cheap’ answers regarding the reason for changing examination grade from divisions to grade point average for secondary schools.
 
Prof Ndalichako had observed that since her appointment and subsequently taking oath of office in December 28 last year, she had endless received queries from parents and education experts on the system used to grade students’ examination results.
 
She maintained that she had to seek for scientific reasons especially on the effects of using the previous system and as well the benefits for adopting the GPA system which has been disputed by education experts.
 
Dr Charles Msonde, NECTA Executive Secretary defended that the new changes, saying was a result of policy demands with the adaptation of e-Government that requested all computerised system in all government departments to be changed.
 
“We reviewed the system to match with that of the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU). All our graduates were also requested to submit their certificates … the system would enable TCU and Nacte easily to scrutinise applicants,” he said. Adding; “using division for instance A had 1 point in secondary while at university and college meant 5 points …we needed similarity and the system had not changed anything in terms of academic performance.”
 
The executive secretary went on to defend that the new system, adding it was very clear than the former system which had seriously confused teachers.
 
Dr Msonde told the Education, Science Technology and Vocational Training Minister who was also flanked by her Deputy Permanent Secretary Prof Simon Msanjila that the new system to be equivalent with that of high learning institutions.
 
The explanation by the NECTA executive secretary was ‘very cheap’ to the minister who sought explanation from her deputy Permanent Secretary Prof Msanjila. The deputy Permanent Secretary told the minister the system used by TCU to admit high learning students did not require GPA but student’s performance in subject relating to a specific course being applied for.
 
“If a student wants to pursue education course, then you will look at his performance in Biology for example B, C, or 0 … during this selection process we don’t consider GPA,” the Deputy Permanent Secretary said.
Prof Ndalichako insisted however Tanzanians wants to know what transpired for the council to change the system.
 
The minister further requested technical and scientific explanation as to  
why the council continues to assess  exams for repeaters.
 
 She was concerned why there was no other alternative methods to examine their capacity rather than doing two things at once. “All private candidates they only show up during final exams, is there no other way that the council can examine them instead of waiting during the final exam?” she quarreled.
 
She reminded that while she was the executive secretary she was also required to introduce the same thing but since it was not professional she rejected the idea.
 
The minister warned however failure to the council to institute scientific explanation all private candidates will now be sitting for a single exam.
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