Dar es Salaam. While Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education has become a national focus in recent years, poor performance in science subjects among students poses a major obstacle to the goal.
The results of the Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (CSEE) 2022 were released by the National Examinations Council (Necta) yesterday, showing a poor performance pattern in the subjects of mathematics, physics, biology, and chemistry that has a significant impact on the development of STEM specialists.
In the results, the performance of school candidates shows that 79.92 percent (415,844 students) got an F grade in Basic Mathematics while only 11,245 students (2.16 percent) had an A grade.
In the subject, 9,984 students (1.92 percent) got grade B, 34, 783 candidates (6.68 percent) got grade C, while 48, 476 (9.32 percent) got grade D.
Statistics for Physics show that, a total of 530 candidates (0.46 percent) obtained grade A, 3,009 candidates (2.64 percent) grade B, 27,330 candidates (23.94 percent) grade C, 47,140 candidates (41.30 percent) grade D, while 36,135 (31.66 percent) getting grade F.
For Chemistry, a total of 10,816 (6.98 percent) candidates got grade A, 22,347 (14.42 percent) grade B, 72,565 (46.81 percent) grade C, 39,487 (25.47 percent) grade D, while 9,792 (6.32 percent) candidates) attained an F grade.
In Biology, a total of 21,518 (4.13 percent) candidates got grade A, 34,077 (6.55 percent) grade B, 134,555 (25.86 percent) grade C, 162,896 (31.30 percent) grade D, while 167,353 (32.16 percent) getting an F grade.
In all the subjects, the trend shows that there was no significant change in performance compared to the results of 2021.
However, this problem extends beyond the CSEE exams. Public uproar about the subjects’ subpar performance in the Form Two National Assessment (FTNA) 2022 also occurred.
The government’s plan is to leverage science and technology as a catalyst for industry-driven economy with the ministry of Education, Science and Technology, aiming to produce many scientists who will stimulate the industrial economy and use of technology for national development.
The visible efforts so far include the emphasis on establishment of university scholarships such as (Samia Scholarship) for students who do well in science.
Dr Amos Mmari, an expert on science and technology told The Citizen that there were many schools without science teachers and the available ones do not have the motivation to help students master the subjects.
“Many students study science at O-Level only because of necessity but not because they are passionate. Also, many of our schools do not have enough teachers of science subjects,” he explained.
He observed that the presence of a few teachers increases the workload of many, while the accumulation of students remains a major impediment.
“Establishing scholarships is a good motivation for students, but are there enough teachers with the morale to help students who want to improve in these subjects?” he questions, adding that the frustrations of teachers have made some of them be violent towards students.
The government has made it a priority to ensuring that young people leaving school at all levels have the skills and certifications necessary to find meaningful employment. To fulfil demand, experts advise the government to boost the number of people with expertise in specific subsets of STEM, particularly at higher education levels. Tanzania now lags behind the rest of the globe in STEM education outputs.
In yesterday’s result announcement, Necta’s acting executive secretary, Mr Athumani Amasi said a total of 566,636 candidates were registered to take the exam. Among them, school candidates were 534,753 and independent candidates were 31,883.
Mr Amasi said 456, 975 candidates out of 520, 558 (87.79 percent) with results have succeeded with grades I, II, III and IV.
In 2021, the successful candidates were 422,388 (87.30 percent).
“Thus, the performance of school candidates has increased by 0.49 percent compared to 2021.”
The council, however, cancelled all results for 333 candidates who were found to have cheated in the exams.
Four of them wrote insults in their scripts.