• July 16th, 2019
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Curriculum reform aims to address inclusivity



Albertina Nakale

WINDHOEK - For years now running, thousands of learners have been falling by the wayside of the education system. Some have not been able gaining the requisite points for promotion to the next level for the Grade 10s, or to enter university for Grade 12s. 


The promotion points for Grade 10s have for a while been 23 points, while for the Grade 12s it is 25 points. Despite the fact the government does not have figures of how many learners have since independence fallen by the wayside, and what has become their eventual destiny, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture says it should be noted that the current curriculum reform addresses inclusivity. The curriculum reforms for the basic education were created by the Cabinet Directives based on the outcomes of the National Conference on Education held in 2011. 


The ministry’s Chief Public Relations Officer (PRO) Johanna Absalom says that academic progression is affected by many factors, in particular, social and economic.  “And in the same breadth interplay between learners’ interests, parental support, aptitude and personality. Therefore, it is correct to assess that learners have been falling on the wayside. Various options through sound policies and programmes were created for them by government,” she notes.


Absalom adds that the Basic Pre-vocational Skills Course for Resource Schools (former Special Schools) is to be introduced this year after two years of piloting the curriculum. The Basic Pre-vocational Skills Course is designed for learners experiencing different barriers to learning. It aims to help them qualify either for a trade or skill vocational training and to serve as a foundation to further training in this regard. Absalom notes the emphasis on gaining and practising basic trade-related skills. Subjects offered include Woodwork, Welding, Motor, Mechanic, Bricklaying, Plumbing, Office Practice, Practical Edu-care Hairdressing, Food Preparation, and Housekeeping, among others. 


Schools offering Basic Pre-vocational Skills Course are Pioneer Boys School, Eros Girls, Eluwa Special School, Kelin Aub Resource School, Saara Kuugongelwa Amadhila Resource and Vocational, Leevi Hakusembe Senior Secondary and Khorab Secondary School. 


In the reformed curriculum, learners will have the first exit point in Grade 11 with Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary (NSSCO) qualification equivalent to Cambridge’s International General Certificate for Secondary Education (IGCSE). Mathematics is compulsory since 2012 and many learners will have the opportunity for further studies in vocational institutions. “The Namibian curriculum for Basic Education has been impressive. Likewise, we envisage yielding more in this respect with the curriculum reform,” Absalom says. 


Further, the reviewed education system and curriculum shall provide an opportunity for diversified growth, learning and development for a healthy sense of self-responsibility. The ministry is optimistic learners will obtain knowledge, skills, values and attitudes they need in real life to further their studies and live a meaningful life in a democratic society (skills-based education such as communication, IT social skills). Previously, for a candidate in Grade 10 to proceed to Grade 11, they had to obtain the required minimum points. Learners who obtained the minimum required points had the option to join the job market or to continue and enroll for the senior secondary phase. However, not all learners would obtain the required points. In this respect, Absalom explains the government has thus devised multiple alternatives for such candidates. 


The ministry made provision for learners under the age of 17 to repeat Grade 10. Learners above the age of 17 had the option enroll with Namibia College of Open Learning (Namcol) to improve their grades. Absalom says the ministry has also over the years engaged with the private educational providers by registering part-time tuition centres to impart knowledge and skills to candidates.


Grade 12 is the exit grade from basic formal school education in Namibia. As such, she maintains at this level, the academic progression of candidates is based on the requirements of the institution they wish to enroll with. She commends Namcol and other part-time tuition centres for having been instrumental in the academic progression of many people, who have become influential figures in society. Namcol has also diversified its programmes and introduced technical and vocational training programmes, to address the training needs and enhance opportunities for making a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the country.


Contrary to popular belief that students only need to enroll with  particular universities, there are 52 institutions registered with the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA)  as well as Namibia Training Authority where candidates can further their education and/or training. Such institutions, she says are playing an important role in accelerating the provision of education and nurturing of competitive skills essential for national development as in line the national agenda and vision.  Since Independence, the education system was reformed based on major goals of access, equity, quality and democracy. The policy brief on education, “Towards Education for All” (1993) set the goals and priorities for education reform. 


The abolishment of the compulsory parental contribution to the School Development Fund (SDF) has seen an increased intake of learners in the pre-primary and primary grades at public schools.  Absalom who says the implementation of “Fee Free Education” for primary education in the 2013 academic year confirmed this and improvement in access at this critical level of education is evident.  Due to free education, she says a number of permanent classrooms has also increased from 8 416 in 1992 to 25 050 in 2017 academic year, representing a significant development in this aspect. However, she says there are still a significant number of non-permanent structures prevalent across the country.
 


Alvine Kapitako
2019-03-20 11:09:28 3 months ago

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