By: Justicia Shipena
Political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah says that the high failure for the class of 2022 external examinations has serious consequences on society and the economy.
The education ministry last month announced that out of 38 019 full-time candidates who sat for the Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSCO) grade 11 students examinations, only 5 812 scored 25 points and above to qualify for entry to tertiary institutions.
The outcome of the results has seen many coming out to criticise the education system while expressing their disappointment in the 2022 exam results.
“It has very serious consequences and impacts both for the individual students, their families, society and the economy,” Kamwanyah said.
He stated that this could be a setback for access to education.
“Where you have such a high number of learners that did not qualify to universities then there is a problem in terms of achieving the goal of access to education,” the analyst opined.
Namibia recently reformed its basic education curriculum to address inclusivity in education. The curriculum reforms were created by the Cabinet Directives based on the outcomes of the National Conference on Education held in 2011.
In the reformed curriculum, learners have the first exit point in Grade 11 with Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary (NSSCO) qualification equivalent to Cambridge’s International General Certificate for Secondary Education (IGCSE). Mathematics is compulsory since 2012 and many learners will have the opportunity for further studies in vocational institutions.
With the higher rate of failure, Kamwanyah said, this could also be a setback for creating a productive workforce, adding that many could be left stranded in the streets and may not gain gainful employment to contribute to the economy.
“This could could also further grow inequality in Namibia, with those facing poverty unable to escape,” he said.
“When you have this higher number of failures then the education is not equalising. What it is doing is creating more inequality. The impact is mostly on the people already in a poverty situation and their chances to escape inequality is very slim.”
Meanwhile, higher education minister Itah Kandji-Murangi says that she is yet to engage stakeholders.
“Let me come back and engage the different teams at universities and higher education institutions and for us to think how best we can address this national challenge together,” the minister said.
In an interview with The Villager, Kandji-Murangi stated that when Namibian universities decided to shake off certificates years back, it was because there was a need for them to focus on specific things such as developing new degree programmes that were to be focused, expanding agricultural and medical schools.
“We will have to sit and collectively look into how best we can address the national challenge that we have. It is not only universities that we need to look at but also our technical and vocational institutions in terms of diversification of trades that they offer,” she said.
AVOIDING INCOMPETENCE – DROP RATE TO INCREASE
The minister said those who advance to a university must have met certain requirements and that admission at that level must have certain skills and competencies to be able to function effectively at that level.
She stressed Namibia should avoid a pest in the bug of incompetence.
“To another level where we may breed yet greater, and even complex incompetence that will not serve the country in the job market and different professions where we need competent people,” said Kandji-Murangi.
With the high number of failures it may not be feasible to absorb everyone, she said. “Maybe a few who have almost met the requirements to enter into these different tertiary education institutions.”
Speaking on whether this could pose a threat to the right to education, human rights activist Rosa Namises stamped opined that the status quo is taking away the future of access to education and the right to be given the opportunity to become an educated citizen.
“We have to sit back and look at what we have in store for our children’s education and not continuously violate their right to education as much as we say they have,” Namises said.
She said that there is already a high dropout rate in Namibia which keeps increasing yearly.
“Dropping out of school has become common now for our young people. This situation is adding to new dropouts of 2022, that will be roaming the streets to wait for the 2023 dropouts.”