By Toivo Mvula
In today’s column we discuss the policy on promotion from Grade 1 to 9 and Grade 11.
Here are the most frequently asked questions:
Do we have a policy on automatic promotion?
No. The policy is simply referred to as “the policy on promotion”. This is because the promotion to another grade is not automatic. Learners who do not meet the requirements to proceed to the next grade are given a second chance to repeat before they can be promoted to another grade.
Why do we promote learners who do not meet the requirements to advance to the next grade?
The policy is based on the learner-centred education approach which is used all over the world. This approach takes as fact that all children can learn and develop given the right circumstances.
It also recognizes that different learners learn differently. There are fast learners, those in the middle and those who are slow learners. The policy is also based on the view that learners perform and acquire knowledge better within their own age group, whether fast or slow.
How does the policy works?
General Education is divided into four (4) phases, namely Lower Primary Phase (Grade 1-4), Upper Primary Phase (Grade 5-7), Junior Secondary Phase (Grade 8-10) and Senior Secondary Phase (Grade 11-12).
The policy states that a learner should not repeat a grade in the same phase more than once. This means that a learner can only repeat once in the same phase.
What if the parents want their child to repeat?
If a child has been unsuccessful in obtaining the requirements needed to proceed to the next grade and the parents feel that their child will not benefit by being promoted, the parents can approach the principal of the school and the child will be allowed to repeat, once a consensus has been reached between the parents, teachers and the principal of that school.
Are schools giving extra classes to learners who continue to repeat?
Yes. Schools are supposed to provide extra classes in the afternoon to all learners, especially those who continue to be promoted. Their progress should be monitored, even if they are move to another school.
Besides the inspectors, parents should make an effort to ensure that schools are adhering to the Ministries’ policies and that their children are being given extra classes and that their performance or progress is being monitored on a regular basis.
Why does the Ministry not just abolish the policy?
The problem with the policy on promotion is that it is not being implemented fully by all schools in the country. It does not make sense to abolish a policy that was never fully implemented or put into practice. There are schools that do not provide extra classes and monitor the performance of poor-performing learners on a regular basis, even if they are transferred to another school. The Ministry has identified that the problem with the implementation of the policy lie with poor management. With the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP), the Ministry aims to address this issue by focusing on the training of management not just at school level, but also at Circuit Office, Regional Office, and Head Office level. A Performance Management System (PMS) is proposed to monitor the performance of all staff members according to set criteria and performance standards.
The Education Corner is a bi-monthly column that was created by the Ministry of Education to highlight educational issues that are of concern to its stakeholders (learners, students, parents, teachers, development partners, unions, and the private and public sector). For more information, contact the Public Relations Office at Tel: 061-2933358 or 2933366.