Tertiary institutions urged to comply with admission criteria

Windhoek � There is a general concern that some of the institutions of higher learning in the country are lowering their admission criteria, a situation seen by many as compromising the quality of education and ultimately undermining the requirements of the job market.

Some people want to know why there is no cap or threshold on the number of points required to gain admission to some universities or colleges in Namibia, as they allege certain students are enrolled into institutions, approved and accredited by the Namibia Qualifications

Authority (NQA), with as little as 18 or 20 points.

They complain that it is not fair to compete in the job market against students who worked hard and excelled to attain the required minimum 25 points in Grade 12 plus a D in English for tertiary admission.

However, NQA chief executive officer Franz Gertze in an interview with New Era said there is a criterion that one has to comply with before entering tertiary education, adding that admission is supposed to ensure a student enters the system with the potential to complete in the shortest time.

Gertze explained that if institutions lower admission criteria, the chances of students not completing their studies increases.

He revealed that NQA and the training institutions agree on the admission points required for different programmes when such institutions submit their applications for accreditation and registration.

According to him, it is difficult to ascertain what institutions really do in practice once the NQA grants them accreditation, but urged all education providers to be honest in their admission requirements at all times.

Everyone should comply with the 25 points and a D in English as minimum requirement. If there are institutions not complying with that, especially at degree level, then we have a problem, he said.

Gertze said institutions have policies in place whereby people are allowed to enter tertiary education through various pathways, such as mature entry and long-life learning, among other modes. He further said students are allowed to enter university or college with fewer than 25 points, provided they register for a certificate level course until they progress to a degree programme. That doesn't give permission to an institution to say to everyone who didn't pass Grade 12 with the required points: 'The door is open'. Then someone must raise the red flag.

The risk is that if you allow someone with 18 points into a degree programme, then people will question that person and you risk the employability of that person.

So, let's play on a level field without bending the rules. We have to find that balance. We have to create access and make sure that quality is not compromised, he noted.

The NQA CEO thus advised training institutions to comply with the agreed norm of 25 points plus a D in English, while urging the nation to get involved in increasing access without comprising the quality of education.

He appealed to students who are registering for tertiary studies to comply with the minimum required entry points. Students represent Namibia's tomorrow. When we deal with them we are building Namibia's tomorrow. We must reduce the margin of error and do the right thing, so we have a brighter tomorrow.

I call on all students and training providers whenever they go and register to take that into cognisance. Registration should be seen as a building block for a better tomorrow.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia