By: Kelvin Chiringa
The massive leakage of an exam last year meant for grades 11 and 12 has meant that the ministry has had to cough up roughly N$3 million to put together another round of papers to be written next week Monday.
This has been disclosed by the education minister, Anna Nghipondoka, as grade 11 students now have this final week before they can face the exam on the 10th of January 2020.
Meanwhile grade 12S are set to start on the 7th of February until the 15th of February 2022.
Teachers will be on their working stations this week Thursday, if all goes according to plan.
But the costs of postponing the exam, a bitter pill which students have had to swallow, have covered the reprinting of the paper plus logistics, according to the minister.
“It’s not a matter of resetting the examination. We are not doing that. We are only going with the alternative. What I have been informed by the Executive Director is that it is going to cost around N$3 million.
“Which is far less what it could have cost us had we not cancelled quickly because we were still going to use materials for examination like practical materials. We could have lost a lot of money had we not acted quickly to say that the way we see it, this examination leak has gone too far, let’s stop it here before we waste anything. We had to either just write or just postpone all the subjects that were not written,” she said.
She concedes that the students have had a torrid time dealing with the social media outburst that came due to the news of the leakage to the extent that they may need psycho-social support.
She has called for calm and focus among the students saying this is just any other exam and they should be able to make it.
“Those that are able to follow this advise will be able to write these examinations and either pass or fail,” she said.
Her message to the parents is that they should assist the students and communicate with and have trust in her ministry in handling the whole process.
“It’s just for us to stay focused, leave what has happened and concentrate on motivating our children. You know these children now need psycho-social support because they are listening to many negative voices which are confusing our children,” she said.
In the meantime, the National African Students’ Association (Nasa) secretary general David Johannes accused the ministry of negligence.
“Rewriting examinations could have a negative psychological effect on the pupils, as a few pupils will have the resilience to do better on second chance exams,” he is quoted as having said.
With the ushering in of the new year, and ahead of the exam date, leader of the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) Bernardus Swartbooi has called on all parents to support the students.
He said they have been made to rewrite due to the “severest negligence and utter incompetence of the ministry of education”.
“We keep them and their families in our prayers, and wish them strength and courage to focus on these exams and do their utmost best yet again. We hereby express well wishes for 2022 to the entire Namibian people, and pray that our individual and collective aspirations and endeavours are able to achieve their highest pinnacles of worth,” he said.
But Nghipondoka insists it was all not their fault.
“The parents should just trust the ministry also and whenever they have questions, they should deal with the ministry directly. But the most important thing now for us the ministry, the schools, the school counselors, the life skill teachers, for us to give specific attention to children and give them psycho-social support. Most especially, we need to work against the spirit of demoralization, and fear and confusion,” she said.
Arrests have been made so far much to the relief of the ministry.