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Don’t blame only teachers for failure – NASA

2023-01-10  John Muyamba

Don’t blame only teachers for failure – NASA

RUNDU - The National African Students’ Association has said they do not agree that teachers should be blamed for the recent devastating National Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary and Advanced Subsidiary levels examination results.

The results show 38 019 learners sat for the NSSCO level but only 5 812 learners (15.3%) met the requirements to register at institutions of higher learning while the remaining 32 207 (84.7%) are sent to the streets. It is reported that about 420 learners have scored zero in mathematics paper two. 

The association believes school management was a contributing factor. 

“Many public schools have leadership and management crises and this negatively affects the performance. We raised concerns over incompetent principals, heads of department, and teachers who are unable to progressively manage the school affairs,” said NASA president Paulus Vihemba on Friday.

The promotion criteria used was also labelled as unfair and it is said to have played a role in learners’ failure. “For instance: A learner who scored 19 points in grade 11 with B, C, C, E, U, U qualify to go to grade 12 but a learner who scored 32 points in grade 11 with the following symbols A, B, C, C, C, D did not qualify to go to grade 12,’’ he said.

NASA, in a statement, noted the new curriculum is also not understood by a lot of teachers as it was just introduced with no proper training given to teachers to adjust their teaching and assessment standards as required by the new curriculum.

Teaching and learning materials for the new curriculum are also not adequately made available, said Vihemba. 

“We acknowledge that teachers are the implementers of the curriculum and that they prepare learners for the examination but we can’t blame teachers for learners failure because the education system is encroached by a lot of problems that made it impossible for teachers to deliver,” he said.

Vihemba indicated that the said results are disappointing and putting the country’s education system in a crisis.

 “That means the overall performance can be graded as U (15.3%), this is indeed a crisis that we find ourselves in, hence, as an association, we are not interested in the blame game thus we have taken time to objectively evaluate the results and analyse the combination of factors that equally contributed to the learners’ failure,” he noted. 

Vihemba further stated that NASA in their observation discovered that this failure was caused by lack of commitment or minimum effort from stakeholders and a flood of contributing factors:

“The failure of Cabinet to allocate adequate funding for basic education and the failure by the ministry to mobilise additional funds to implement the free education which led to many crises which negatively affected learning and teaching such as inadequate learning infrastructure, the delay in paying out UPE/USE grants, a shortage of teaching and learning materials in our public schools, hence creating several problems amongst others,” he said.

Vihemba stated that the ministry did not recruit an adequate number of teachers for understaffed schools as required by teacher-learner ratio policy, which suggests 30 learners per secondary school teacher. Now classes have as many as 45 learners. 

“The delay in appointing new teachers led to teachers overload and leaving school management under no choice than to assign duties to teachers who are not professionally trained to teach certain subjects,” he noted. 

Vihemba also alleged that the ministry’s promotional policy, which allows the transfer of learners from one grade to the next, even when they performed poorly, citing wasting of resources when learners repeat a grade, also contributes to the current failure amongst others.

The student association further called upon the government to prioritise the funding of education, by increasing the basic education budget from N$14.1 billion to at least N$20 billion to effectively run education. 

“This would mean that teaching and learning materials will be made available to allow effective teaching and learning. We are recommending that management posts such as the principals and heads of department be appointed on five-year contracts just like higher learning institutions, and re-contracting should only be done based on the satisfaction of the set performance indicators,” he said.


2023-01-10  John Muyamba

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