The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) has revealed that local universities consider only 15 points as the highest points attainable at A Level.
This is regardless of how many points the student would have scored. ZIMSEC revealed this when commenting on the fantastic results of an academic prodigy who scored a remarkable 50 points (10 As) at A Level.
ZIMSEC, which generally does not comment on student results, made an exception following Tadiwanashe Mavetera’s exceptional academic performance.
Mavetera was a student at Ruya Adventist Secondary School.Speaking on the results, ZIMSEC director Dr Lazarus Nembaware told The Sunday Mail,
“It is out of this world to have 50 points at A-Level because even universities do not consider that. They use 15 points as the highest measure for enrolment from the standard three subjects,” he said.
Zimsec board chairperson Professor Eddie Mwenje also described the results as “amazing.”
“Getting 50 points is amazing. I remember, around 2017, learners were registering about eight or less subjects, and the highest we used to get was about 25 points.
However, as a board, we do not comment on candidates’ personal results; it should be done by schools and parents. That is why, when we give pass rates, we just do it at a national level.” Dr. Hillary Jephat Musarurwa, a social scientist, agreed with ZIMSEC that 15 points are the maximum that Zimbabwean universities consider.
Musarurwa, who has two doctorates, including a DPhil in public administration with a focus on peace studies from Durban University of Technology, stated,
“I have always argued that it’s not necessary to do more than 3 subjects at A Level. May the kids be correctly advised on the right combination and number of subjects to take.”
Dr Musarurwa used a conversation he had with an unnamed official at the University of Zimbabwe’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences about the admissions procedure to bolster his point.
The official said,
“UZ does not discriminate against schools, especially the faculty of medicine which I have been part of since 2008. It’s unfortunate that many students who do more than 3 subjects at A level end up including irrelevant subjects to our entry requirements.
“Our requirements are A level passes in Chemistry and any 2 subjects between Maths, Physics, Biology/ Zoology. So besides Chemistry, we count the other best 2 subjects, thus we only consider 3 subjects. So if one does 5 subjects and gets all A’s and a D (2 points) in Chemistry, we don’t see it as 22 points but as 12 points because we consider chemistry first and any other best 2 from the above list. “So the message is, don’t force your bright students/ children to take up many subjects if they intend to do medicine. This does not increase their chances. Let them concentrate and maximise their efforts on 3 relevant subjects only. In addition, we don’t count mathematics together with Further Maths or Applied Maths/ Pure Maths…. etc, we just consider Maths as 1 one subject. So it’s of no benefit sitting for exams of all variants of maths.
“Our intake is about 300/ yr for medicine. If we have a high number of potential students (which has been the case since 2014) we conduct interviews.
The interview instrument is to weed out potential delinquencies and those who would have been pushed to do medicine by their parents/ guardians when they don’t really intend to by themselves. We also look at communication skills.
This is where some students fall off. Some schools concentrate on bookwork but they don’t groom their students.”