The Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council has released a report on secondary school examination performances showing wide discrepancies between urban and rural schools.
Urban schools fell far behind those in the countryside in the 2011 Ordinary and Advanced Level examination calender. Only three schools in Harare and Bulawayo fared well.
Harare’s ZRP High at fourth place made it into the top 50 best performing schools at 'O' Level, while Bulawayo's John Tallach came out sixth and St.Columbus at number 30.
Zengeza High, in Harare, was among the top ten best performers at 'A' Level, taking number eight.
Schools in Manicaland and Mashonaland East provinces including Nyanga at number one, St. Ignatius in fourth place in both 'A' and 'O' level and St. Faiths in Manicaland province in the East, dominated the list.
Matabeleland North's Marist Brothers was 14th on the list and Mtshabezi Mission in Matabeleland South at 35. Usher Girls High, from the same province was at number 45.
Midlands and Masvingo were also counted with Chikwingwizha and Serima at number nine and 20, respectively.
ZIMSEC officials say the 2011 results indicated a year-to-year increase in pass rates coming from a low base after a decade of educational decline.
Education Minister David Coltart said he was still awaiting the official results from ZIMSEC, telling VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo the pass rate trends have continued to change over the past few years.
"All that I can say is that there is a completely different work ethic in most rural schools, children tend to be boarders there," Said Coltart. "There tends to be much higher levels of discipline because they are in a school environment the whole time."
Educationist Abbiot Moyo said people must focus on the daily challenges of both urban and rural teachers. He said these issues needed to be addressed urgently for the country's pass rates to improve.
Moyo observed that rural teachers live a different life "unlike teachers in the city who have to look for part time employment in order to supplement the meager salaries they receive".
Education advocates want an increase in funding to curb such disparities.
Maxwell Rafamoyo, director of the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe said the quality of education provided by teachers to students in the country generally needed to be enhanced.