At a time when academic cheating is prevalent in schools, it seems the revolutionary approach to learning by Knowstics Academy is paying off, with eight of the institution’s students scooping national outstanding learner awards.
Rated among some of the best schools in the country, Knowstics is best known for introducing a revolutionary curriculum which seeks to close the knowledge-skills gap.
The unique curriculum, which received a thumps-up from Josiah Hungwe, the former Minister of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education, seeks to produce students that will be readily ushered into the job market.
In the past four years, the institution, which is located in the cool environs of the Manyore area of Nyanga, has surpassed expectations, registering 100 percent pass rates in both the O and A-Level Zimsec and Cambridge examinations.
Eight of the institution’s students that sat for a number of subjects in both the O and A-Level Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) were awarded with national outstanding awards.
Charmaine Rambire was adjudged to be the best student in the country among those that sat for the 2017 A-Level Chemistry paper.
Rutendo Chatiza, another Knowstics student, was adjudged the country’s best student in both the O-Level Chemistry and Physics CIE examinations.
In Chemistry, Chatiza had a 93 percent mark and in Physics, she garnered 94 percent.
Not to be outdone, Kudzai Musarandega came out tops in the O-Level Biology and Geography examinations.
Musarandega’s classmate, Daisy Mbulache, also got the same marks in Biology.
Devaughn Chaukura did the institution proud after coming up tops in History and Literature.
Rutendo Nyazika and Melisa Tsaboni were the best students in Religious Studies and Literature in English respectively.
In Business Studies, Kundai Ganjani was the top student in the country after garnering 91 percent.
Last week, The Sunday Mail Society joined other visitors that were drawn from the education and finance sectors in a tour of the institution.
The tour revealed that apart from the thrust on closing the skills gap, the institution has put in place several measures that contributes to the institution’s impressive results.
A lot of investment is put in the preparations for examinations.
Apart from being thorough, the way the academy prepares for examinations is different from other schools.
“As opposed to some educationists’ views, examination preparation is not only about reading and revision. Instead, it is a more deliberate process that takes time, effort and resources,” explained Mrs Edith Mukuwapasi, the Knowstics Academy principal.
Mrs Mukuwapasi added: “Shortly before examinations, our students embark on a boot camp. We invite top motivational speakers who deliver lectures that prepares the students for what lies ahead of them. By the time the students sit for the examinations, they would be in the best frame of mind.” The tour also revealed that for institutions to excel, there is need for sound financial investment.
Apart from the usual subjects, the students are taught electrical engineering, joinery, structural engineering and horticulture.
Animal husbandry, creative design, financial literacy, media and designing are some of the subjects that are covered. Students are also taught the basics in fitting and turning, automotive engineering, marketing and garment construction.
The institution hires experts in these fields.
“Some subjects demand that the students have as much practice as possible. We try to make sure that the students grasp as much information as possible from active participation. For students to fully comprehend engineering, for example, there is need for them to occasionally learn in a proper engineering workshop,” added Mrs Mukuwapasi.
In an effort to make sure that the academy realises its goals, teachers are occasionally attached to educational institutions in the United Arab Emirates, India and other countries where they are taught the latest teaching methods. The college has a first of its kind research centre whose purpose is to develop critical thinking as well as feedback skills.
The centre provides hands-on skills and experience in agriculture, carpentry and building.
As a result of studies, the students now value creative and innovative thinking. The academy also invested heavily on computer and other scientific laboratories.
Its history for excellence dates back to the 2013 Zimsec examinations in which Mr Maunga, the academy’s headmaster, emerged as the best Geography teacher in the country.
Several other teachers also did the same in Business Studies, Divinity and Accounts. Again in 2013, two of the institution’s teachers were adjudged the best teachers in the world in their respective CIE subjects after their students had done exceptionally well in the Cambridge international examinations.
Messrs Mawoneni and Chaeruka were adjudged the best History and Divinity teachers.
Teachers at the institution are highly motivated and are given performance-based contracts.
Discipline is one of the key factors that contributes to the high pass rate.
According to Mrs Mukuwapasi, the institution has a zero tolerance for indiscipline.
“How can a student excel when he or she is not disciplined? Here, we work on the attitude of the students first and we have no space for those that misbehave,” said Mrs Mukuwapasi, a well-known disciplinarian.
Unlike some schools that only enrol pupils that would have done exceptionally well in Grade Seven, Knowstics has earned a reputation for transforming average pupils into excellent students.
As a result of both the students’ upkeep and the pass rates, the academy attracts students from as far afield as Swaziland, Zambia and Mozambique, among other countries.
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