New Curriculum to Increase Pass Rate

The Namibian National Students Organisation (Nanso) says challenges such as the low pass rate among grade 10s and 12s will be history once the new curricula and reforms to basic education are fully implemented.

Critics have derided the Namibian education system and its curricula saying it is to blame for the few learners qualifying for tertiary studies and higher institutions of learning producing “substandard graduates”.

Nanso president Timotheus Angala yesterday in an interview said the education system would only deliver when staff of the Ministry of Education (directors, inspectors, principals and teachers) are committed and determined and have the attitude of delivering “our nation from the bondage of a rigid and ruthless education system for the attainment of Vision 2030”.

Most of the times, Angala said, government starts programmes or reforms but hardly completes them due to a change in leadership or a lack of resources.

“It is my wish that the reforms in our education system reach their ultimate potential and place Namibia amongst the countries with amongst the best education systems in the world. The Namibian nation is not happy with the performance of our education system. At secondary level, the grades 10 and 12 pass rate is worrisome. The job market is saying that our tertiary institutions are producing substandard graduates. Even some propagandist magazines have rated the minister (Dr David Namwandi) below scale,” said Angala.

“The truth of the matter is that the current education system is not good for the human development of our country. It has become rigid and ruthless. If you cannot memorise concepts and produce them like a photocopy machine during tests and exams then you are doomed, you are going to fail Grade 10 and end up working at Meneer Coetzee’s company as a ‘handlanger’ (bottle washerhelperassistant doing menial work).”

He called on all education stakeholders to work hard to respond to the call for curriculum reform with the correct measures and actions.

“We must not be carried away by the political waves, especially now that they are at their highest tide, but must give credit where it’s due and acknowledge the selfless sacrifices of the two gentlemen. It’s very unfortunate that Dr Abraham Iyambo (late education minister) left us too soon. I don’t think the President regrets appointing them in 2010. We must continue to support the current minister Dr David Namwandi and his deputy Silvia Makgone to ensure the total implementation of the reform that started in 2012,” he urged.

In 2010 President Hifikepunye Pohamba appointed the late Dr Abraham Iyambo as minister and Dr David Namwandi as deputy minister to head the education ministry. They landed running and undertook wide-ranging consultations, which resulted in the National Education Conference in 2011.

Many recommendations were made at the conference, the majority of which were endorsed by Cabinet late in 2011.

Between 2012 to 2014, the ministry chalked up some of its major accomplishments stemming from the recommendations, addressing accessibility, quality and equity as cardinal virtues of an improved education system.

Some of the major accomplishments in the view of Nanso include the increment in the budget allocation for the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) since 2012 to allow more students to access tertiary institutions.

Nanso also applauded the comprehensive and holistic review and reform of the higher education system in Namibia in relation to its contribution to the achievement of Vision 2030, conducted by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE).

“This review proposed policies such as the tuition fee policy, funding formulae for public institutions of higher education and a new higher education structure, which paved the way for the conversion of the Polytechnic into a university and other initiatives as per the implementation plan of action,” Angala said.

Another tangible result Nanso highlighted is the free basic education and the envisioned free secondary education to be realised in 2015.

Nanso further applauded government for developing the new curriculum for the Namibian education system, which was developed through the National Institute for Educational Development.

“This is not an easy exercise but very crucial. It will be two-streamed, academic and vocational, unlike the current one which is only academic. The proposed curriculum has many initiatives that will allow a smooth progression for every learner,” the Nanso president observed.

The construction of additional schools and classrooms for learners to be taught in proper infrastructure especially in rural areas has also been commended.

Source : New Era