Girl (12) writes, passes Cambridge ‘O’ Level exam

BULAWAYO – While a lot senior to her struggle with their examinations, Bulawayo’s 13-year-old Tabaka Chuma has written and passed a Cambridge Ordinary Level English examination after just three months of coaching while she was still 12.

Under Zimbabwe’s educational standardisation, one is often considered ripe to sit for the mandatory ‘O’ Level exams when they are 15 and above.

But through encouragement by her parents Peter and Scholastic Chuma and the family’s United Kingdom based mentor Roy Chinyanga, Tabaka – now in Form One at Girls College in Bulawayo – sat for the exam and obtained a ‘C’ in the subject, a symbol still good enough for a minor who was still fresh from writing her Grade 7 examinations.

Her elated parents took time to share the objectives and secret behind their third born child’s exceptional educational aptitude.

It turned out the magic was shared by researcher and consultant Chinyanga, the creator of Mxkops System methodology, a study concept he has successfully used on his own children and further shared with the Chumas and a lot more.

“I heard about this studying system and I decided to give my daughter a go and wow, she managed to excel,” says Peter, the minor’s father.

Chuma still denies his daughter is a genius and insists her astounding academic mastery was merely an outcome of the successful application of an effective studying concept.

“Tabaka was an average child but when we applied this concept, it brought out the potential that she had,” he says.

“It’s one system that, if applied in our curriculum, it can change the face of our education system. It took her just three months to study English.”

Asked why the couple took the decision to make its Form One daughter sit for an ‘O’ Level examination, Scholastic, the girl’s mother, said, “The idea is catching them young”.

“When the child is young, before a lot of things start running through her mind, it is the best time for her to understand what you ask her to do.

“We thought if the child is ready, why waste time,” she says, adding that the couple is considering trying the same method on her with ‘O’ Level Maths.

Adds the father, “We don’t want to push her or congest her with a lot of material as such but we just want to also make it clear to her that she has got the potential; she does not have to wait for four years and then sit for ‘O’ Level. But it’s up to her at the end of the day.

“With this method, if it is applied in all subjects, she does not have to wait for four years.

“I have seen Mr Chinyanga’s results with other children and I got inspired.

“In fact, his (Chinyanga) daughter, Chelsea was actually coaching Tabaka.

“It was not a face-to-face coaching by the way; she would give her some work in the morning and then call her in the evening and go over what she would have done.”

Chinyanga feels the current testing system based on a child’s age should be abandoned for one that tests a child’s mental aptitude instead.

“My advice to other parents is that we should not underestimate our children’s capabilities. Encourage and support them to do their best and they are sure to succeed,” he says.

“Zimbabwe must continue to explore new avenues that keep us at the top of learning, thus enabling our human capital to remain as our major export resource.”

The Mxkops System methodology, as explained by Chinyanga, “advocates that the best years of learning and mastering skills is when children are young, their bones malleable and those are the years to test a skill and not chronological age”.

Chinyanga has tried the concept with his own children Logan, Troy and Chelsea Chinyanga, who are living testimony of children who have sat for public examination much earlier than the standard ages and excelled.

Logan is now a Registered and practising pharmacist in the UK with an Msc Pharmacy while Chelsea is now pursuing her medical studies.

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