NEWLY released 2017 National Form Six Exam results have revealed fierce competition between public and private schools. Unlike last year’s public school dominance in the top ten, private establishments have this year outmaneuvered their state-funded counterparts.
But, generally performance has improved, with girls shining over their brothers. According to the National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA) Executive Secretary, Dr Charles Msonde, the overall pass rate for the 61,308 candidates who wrote the exam last May is 98.12 per cent, a slight increase from last year’s 97.94 per cent.
Girls, female scientists to be precise, have recorded the most impressive performance, with 94.07 per cent pass rate against boy’s 93.49. We sincerely congratulate all candidates but specifically girls in Science combinations for the job well done.
These hardworking, determined and brilliant young girls have proved wrong the two common myths: girls are weak, science subjects are difficult. They have indeed shown how easy science subjects are to pass--easier than arts or commerce subjects.
Gladly, all the top ten students in the exam ranking come from science combinations. Under these exam results, the government will probably through the Ministry of Education, Science and Vocational Training, easily persuade more students to study Science and Mathematics if, at all, they aspire to perform well in their final exams.
The good thing about Science/Mathematics is that, unlike arts, a science/mathematics question has only and only one answer. You either get it right or wrong--there is no bargain in between.
However, there are some basics for successful studying and passing in science subjects. Books, teachers and well equipped laboratories are inevitable. It’s a day dream attempting to study science in the absence of the basic three.
While the government strives to provide conducive and supportive environment for aspiring scientists, the bad news is: there are still many public schools, especially the ward schools at the ordinary level of secondary education, craving for laboratories and science teachers.
The government says it has about 700 job openings for science teachers countrywide, but it seems the market is already drained-there is nobody to take up the job. But, too many students remain generally but unjustifiably scared of science subjects.
Sometimes, at their early ages, they get intimidated by their family members, peers and even teachers that Science/ Mathematics are difficult, they are special subjects for the talented few.
Yet, Science/Mathematics are the easiest subjects. As the government strives to invest heavily in producing more scientists, let us, as the country, discard this misleading notion of perceiving Science/Mathematics as difficult subjects.
For with proper mindset, Tanzania’s journey towards a nation of scientists seems smooth.