HARARE – The number of candidates who sat the Ordinary Level examinations declined by 5.37 percent from the previous year in 2021, ZIMSEC said on Tuesday as it finally released the delayed results.
There were 14,185 fewer candidates than in 2020, according to ZIMSEC, a reflection of what teachers’ unions said were post-pandemic struggles by parents to raise the exam fees set by the government.
The pass rate climbed marginally from 24.77 percent in 2020 to 26.34 percent, meaning that of the 163,179 candidates who sat five or more subjects, 42,985 passed at least five subjects with grade C or better.
A total of 249,914 sat for the examinations, 130,996 of them female and 118,918 male.
The pass rate was higher among male candidates at 26.51 percent compared to females who saw a pass rate of 23.69 percent.
Private candidates had a 15.04 percent pass rate compared to 25.7 percent for school candidates.
The O’ Level exams started in December and ended on January 31 following Covid-19 disruptions. This led to inevitable delays in marking, resulting in Upper Sixth classes failing to open for the first term which closed on April 7.