By: Hertha Ekandjo
Newly-elected Namibian National Student Organisation (Nanso) president Lucia Ndishishi has called on the Namibian College of Open Learning (Namcol) to return to full-time learning mode.
According to Ndishishi, Namcol has established a system in which they only teach or tutor during the holidays or school breaks, thereby reducing the number of hours tutors deliver their lessons to the learners.
Ndishishi said this during a press conference on the 17th National Students Congress outcomes, which saw her elected the student body’s head.
“Namcol learners must return back to the formal schooling system,” she said.
She added that the Namibian Student Council (NSC) has identified this to be a serious challenge in that the quality of teaching has drastically dropped.
“With the current status quo, there are fewer hours of teaching, the contents of the subjects are not covered, and learners are forced to write exams with uncovered content,” said Ndishishi.
This comes after Namcol’s face to face classes were suspended due to Covid-19 and restricted public gatherings.
Earlier this year, the education and arts ministry revealed that 27,8 per cent of part-time candidates who wrote the Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC) ordinary and higher levels were ungraded.
Approached for comment, Namcol director Haroldt Murangi could not divulge when the institution would be returning to a full-time teaching basis.
Touching on higher education, Ndishishi said that there are still challenges faced with funding at the Namibia Students Financial Assistant Fund (NSFAF).
“NSC has noted with grave concern that there are several challenges with funding at NSFAF. Amongst others, several postgraduate and students applying through matured age entry are being excluded from funding,” she added.
Ndishishi further accused NSFAF of excluding students that apply through the matured age entry. She also said that congress has welcomed the inclusion of the development of the Students Village in the 2022/2023 budget of the higher education ministry.
This comes as Affirmative Repositioning leader Job Amupanda, last year, accused the higher education minister, Itah Kandjii-Murangi, of corruptly going beyond procedures to award the tender for the Student’s Village to her “cronies.”
Ndishishi called on government through the ministry to expedite the development of the Student Village. She said the NSC expects students to move in on 1 January 2023.
“The national executive committee has been tasked with exposing pirate/fake institutions and ensuring their closure and deregistration. These institutions continue to exploit students’ funds, provide them with unaccredited qualifications and offer redundant courses,” she said.
The congress resolved that institutions of higher learning should modify and make worker integrated learning compulsory.
Ndishishi said that this guarantees that students receive the experience they need while studying.
According to NSC, schools are faced with the challenge of insufficient textbooks and overcrowded classrooms, a situation that influences the quality of education provided.
The NSC called on the idea of one learner-one textbook, one teacher, 30 learners.
Ndishishi said that the NSC deliberated vigorously on the dire situations of learners residing at the border areas of Namibia and Angola.
“NSC said that the Namibian and Angolan government must take effective responsibility for learners residing at the borders and not able to access the basic education stream,” she said.
She added that the two governments must engage and establish a sustainable way forward.