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Education allays fears over new curriculum

Deputy education minister Anna Nghipondoka

The education ministry has moved to allay fears that the new curriculum will send some pupils onto the streets.

In audio recording in Eagle FM’s possession, both the deputy education minister Anna Nghipondoka and the executive director Sanet Steenkamp said although the new curriculum needs a lot of work, it brings quality.

Nghipondoka said the new curriculum is overdue considering that it was mooted in 2011 during an education conference hosted by the former minister the late Abraham Iyambo.

She said that research was done, and delegations visited countries to benchmark Namibia’s educational system before implementing the curriculum.

“Our certificates are accredited by Cambridge for us to be benchmarked. We are required to reform our education system,” Nghipondoka said.

The deputy minister further said that the curriculum change is something that must happen in Namibia if the education system is to remain relevant.

“But its relevance and its importance do not mean that it does not come with challenges. If we are doing something good, we will have challenges. When you implement a new or revised or reformed curriculum, there will be challenges,” Nghipondoka added.

According to Nghipondoka, the current curricula reforms were implemented in 2016 and was done phase by phase from lower primary, to upper primary and then to secondary involving Grades 8, 9 and 10.

Nghipondoka said those pupils who studied part-time and graduated from Namcol and other institutions cannot go to Grade 11 under the new curriculum because they will face challenges because the curriculum review also comes with syllabus changes.

“We look at what is missing, what knowledge, what skills are we missing in this curriculum and for it to be aligned it starts from Grade 0. The way the knowledge acquisition is interwoven starts from there and those children doing Grade 11 next year, they started from Grade 0,” she explained.

Those pupils who did not make it in Grade 10 under the old curriculum and repeated in 2019, she said, will find a competence gap if they join the mainstream school system.

“They mastered all the competences of the old curriculum and you take them and dump them in the new curriculum for Grade 11 where there are new competencies, where these students have never done and have never been tested. It will affect them negatively,” Nghipondoka said.

Steenkamp also said that they will not allow those who studied with Namcol and passed Grade 10 under the legacy curriculum to enter the formal school system.

She said the new curriculum is very challenging and that the ministry does not have enough resources to cater for all the pupils.

“As things are now, we have quite a number of Grade 9 and 10 pupils who find the new curriculum challenging and are repeating. So, our resources are geared towards that cohort already and it’s a great challenge to the system and something we need to work on and increase teacher training,” the executive director said.

Those who studied with Namcol must continue, Steenkamp said because the institution will still offer the old curriculum until 2021.

“If I was a part-time pupil in Grade 10 in 2019, I can this year 2020 enrol for three subjects and complete them successfully under the old curriculum called the legacy. In 2021, I can then take three more subjects and complete my Grade 12 in the old curriculum,” Steenkamp said.

She called on parents and everybody else to start taking the new curriculum seriously because it is more demanding but brings improved quality in education.

Wonder Guchu

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