So in 2018, the news doing rounds was that you no longer needed to pass Ordinary Level Maths and English for you to apply for University/College. Well, that that is both true and false.

You can now apply to College/University without these subjects

The Zimbabwean Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education scrapped the requirement. What this technically means is that right now you can apply for college/university without passing these subjects. Being able to apply and getting in are two totally different things.

Most places for different courses at a lot of Universities and Colleges are given based on merit. Without Maths and English do not expect to be doing any of the in-demand courses like Medicine, Accounting, Finance or even Agriculture. In fact, if you have heard of a coveted course do not bother applying for it. There is no shortage of students with Maths and English who are trying to get in. If you failed one of these you will never even be considered.

English is still the language of instruction

Apart from Shona, Ndebele and the occasional Maths explanations all subjects have English as the language of instruction. I always tell people who come to me for advice to not bother attending Advanced Level before they pass English.

I cannot think of a subject at Advanced Level where you will get away with not being able to write proper English. Ironically that includes languages like Shona where major sections are written in English. During revision and remedial lesson stints, I have met students who can trace the reason for their having terrible grades at A Level to their terrible English. They might have the ideas but fail to communicate them properly.

Let us be clear then you need English to navigate Advanced Level. You will be an idiot to even think of attending college/university without the skill. Your life will be miserable and you are going to waste time and money in the process.

Maths is absolutely required for a lot of courses

Most of the courses I know even the ones listed as not requiring a Maths pass require you to have good Maths skills. Unless you failed Maths for another reason other than you suck at Maths then you will find it hard passing these courses as well. Most of them have lots of Maths in their curriculum.

Courses like Statistics, Econometrics, Analysis etc form part of the core of college/university qualifications. Even in Arts courses like Psychology, you will find exactly the same Maths you are running from waiting for you. Would you rather fail now after spending $13 (current examination fee per subject) or wait until you shell out big bucks for a college course?

ACCA as an example

Before the scrapping of the Maths and English requirements, there were already plenty of courses that allowed you to enrol using what is known as the mature entry. For example ACCA, you can enrol as long as you are 22 years and older.

The problem though is most of the students I tutor for ACCA who sucked at Maths suck at ACCA. Most fail miserably before giving up after wasting money and time. They should have left these professional courses well alone and found something that they were actually good at. A vocational course perhaps.

The fact is while Maths and English passes are no longer required for some courses they are still needed.