What is a country without its education system?
As a future educator, I just want to address the elephant in the room, which is our country’s new curriculum. What is a curriculum?
According to the Education Act (Act no 16, 2001), a brief answer is hard to give, as the curriculum can be written and unwritten.
Essentially, the curriculum is what the school is attempting to teach, which might include social behaviours, content and thinking skills.
It is also a course of study that will enable the learner to acquire specific knowledge and skills. The revised curriculum indicates the junior primary phase will be from grade one to three, while the senior primary phase will be from grade four to seven.
The junior secondary phase, which consists of grade 8 and 9, will require the pupils to write junior secondary semi-external examinations at the end of grade 9 – like what the grade 10 results were.
This means grade 11 is the first exit point from basic education; learners who do well in grade 11 precede to grade 12, namely the AS level.
The AS level was implemented for the first time in Namibia last year as part of the third basic education change that started in 2012, following resolutions taken at the 2011 education conference. The new curriculum simply means we are moving into a new and developing era. It is meant for highflyers, focused learners and those candidates who know what they want as far as education is concerned. According to the Cambridge Assessment International Education online site, thousands of learners will gain places at leading universities every year with AS levels, as the syllabi develops a deep understanding of subjects and independent thinking skills.
The new curriculum will provide a lot of opportunities after school because it will also focus on technical subjects that will ensure learners can go straight to vocational options and be able to become entrepreneurs (Namibia Vision 2030, office of the president, 2004). The new curriculum will provide a wide variety of subjects/options, as it has introduced vocational and technical subjects.
With every new development, there are challenges.
In most cases, the teachers are still uncertain and doubtful, as they have never taught the syllabus before – and learners are still in the dark and confused.
Various principles told (The Namibian, 2019) that apart from the shortages of textbooks, teachers were not prepared for the new curriculum, although training and workshops were provided before it was implemented.
Other principles felt it would be difficult for learners to decide their careers/futures in grade 9; they might still be young and immature. According to the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (MOE, 2006), other challenges include overcrowded classes/lack of space, because learners might choose to go for a particular field more than another. he lack of qualified teachers will also be a disadvantage because not all teachers will grasp information at the same pace, and some might be resistant to change.
We should, therefore, be able to view this new curriculum as a stepping-stone to more development. It is human nature to be resistant to change in the beginning.
Still, learners, teachers and other stakeholders should take it as something different from what we had before and work harder to master the content of the syllabus, skills and competencies that are required for the learners to excel at the start of the tertiary level. The new curriculum is more than just an academic aspect; we should also look at it from a self-development perspective.
Learners become more aware of themselves, giving them a sort of responsibility.
I believe if parents help learners by encouraging them/challenging them to take up the AS level – and if teachers who are facing difficulties and struggling to adjust are provided with more training and workshops, we should be able to adapt to the change smoothly. - IUM student