TUN slams directive prohibiting successful JSC learners from formal school

The Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) Secretary General Kavihuha Mahongora has slammed the directive by the education ministry barring part-time learners who successfully completed their Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) in 2019 back in formal schools.

In an interview with Nampa here on Wednesday, Mahongora said the Executive Director of Education, Arts and Culture Sanet Steenkamp has given no scientific evidence as to why learners should not go back to formal school to complete their Grade 11 and 12, adding that her directive was on hypothetical basis.

In a circular issued on 02 January 2020, Steenkamp said learners who were successful in improving their JSC results in 2019 will not be able to return to full-time schooling for Grade 11 as they are still a part of the old curriculum which has been faced out.

It directed the learners to continue with their part-time studies and complete the grade 12 on the old curriculum over the next years before it is completely phased out. This means the learners will be allowed to do three subjects per year over a period of two years.

The directive is compromising with the academic freedom of learners and the system should be developed in a such a way that every Namibian child can enter at whatever level to continue with formal education he noted.

Mahongora further added that, there are many unemployed teachers, therefore the ministry should establish centres that will allow these learners to be taught on a fulltime basis on the old curriculum.

On the same note, Namibia National Student Organisation (NANSO) President Simon Taapopi echoed same sentiments, saying that the ministry should reintegrate the learners back either into the new system as the syllabus do not exceedingly differ.

Another suggestion he added is for the ministry to identify schools countrywide that can offer the old curriculum to allow for the learners to continue with Grade 11 and 12.

We cannot allow the future of these learners to be in limbo, it is also extra cost for these learners and there is a risk of having high failing rate as learners are now attending classes on part-time basis for two years, he said.

The ministry embarked on a curriculum review as a result of the Education conference of 2011 and has been implemented since 2015 in three phases (Pre-primary; Senior Primary and Junior Secondary Grade 8 and 9.

Thus, 2018 was the last year that JSC was taught at schools for full-time candidates and 2019 was the first year that the Grade 10 revised curriculum was taught in schools.

Source: Namibia Press Agency