59 per cent Year 13 students failed maths last year – PS Kuruleca

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Ministry of Education PS Selina Kuruleca addresses the inaugural National Education Summit in Nadi. Picture: MOE

About 59 per cent of Year 13 students failed maths in their examinations last year.

Speaking on the Status of Fiji’s Education System report at the Fiji National Education Summit 2023 in Nadi yesterday, Education Ministry permanent secretary Selina Kuruleca said failure rates increased while participation decreased.

“For Year 13 examinations, failed percentages in maths – 59 per cent, in geography – 56 per cent, biology – 47 per cent, chemistry – 40 per cent, and in physics – 42 per cent,” Ms Kuruleca said.

“Fail percentage reduces in higher years but so does participation. The lower the numbers, of course, the rate’s going to be lower.”

Ms Kuruleca said similar rates were recorded for Year 8 and Year 12 students.

She said for the different ethnic backgrounds, the learning gaps between the different groups were not very large.

“If a share in past percentage is compared with shared participation, the gap closes further. The lower past percentage is reflective of the larger share of ethnic groups in rural areas.

“Research has shown that we had higher failure rates or higher chances of failure in rural areas.”

Ms Kuruleca said the remedy existed in reassessing education in rural areas.

“What are we doing right? What are we not doing so well? What must we do better? What must we do better?

“But having said that there is also a real need to transform our education sector.”

She said one of the outcomes of weak learning was high youth unemployment.

“Youth unemployment was three times the regular unemployment rates, even prior to COVID.

“The general unemployment rate rose from 4 per cent to 4.5 per cent before COVID and 14.5 per cent after the pandemic.”