Teachers, school policies, and parents share blame for high failure rate in exams, Mauritians say


Mauritians blame poor teaching, an inadequate curriculum, lax promotion policies, and a lack of parental motivation for the high failure rate in the 2019 School Certificate Level exams, according to a new Afrobarometer survey.

The high failure rate was an unwelcome shock for the education sector of Mauritius. The latest Afrobarometer survey data, collected in November 2020, show that Mauritians distribute responsibility for secondary school students’ poor performance widely, blaming teachers who don’t execute their duties to required levels, the government policy of allowing students to proceed to the next grade even if they have not met all requirements of the current grade, an insufficient curriculum, and parents’ lack of support for academic achievement.

The pass rate for School Certificate Level exams dropped to 71% in 2019, from 79% in 2005. Concerns are heightened by the fact that more than 50% of secondary school students failed their second-semester examinations at the end of 2020, likely in part because of a three-month-long lockdown, from mid-March to mid-June 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The most recent exam results suggest that any further lockdowns may have a significant negative impact on education in Mauritius unless there are targeted interventions.

Even so, Mauritians overwhelmingly agree that closing the schools in 2020 was necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19.