Former director of the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED) Hertha Pomuti, who was one of the influential figures behind the new education curriculum, believes local universities should be in a position to grant admission to grade 11 pupils.
According to Pomuti, both grade 11 and grade 12 Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC) ordinary levels were of the same standard and quality, adding pupils completing grade 11 may qualify for admission to certain undergraduate degree programmes.
The University of Namibia - in particular - has refused to adhere to a government directive to accept or admit grade 11 learners who are seeking tertiary education.
Pomuti, who is now an
employee of Unam, said it was important to understand that pupils, who successfully completed their senior secondary education at the end of grade 11 of the schooling system, have obtained the NSSCO level.
“This NSSCO is of the same standard and quality as the NSSCO which learners obtained at the end of grade 12 of the schooling system.
Both NSSCO (grade 12) and NSSCO (grade 11) are two-year course and are typically for 14 to 16-year-olds. Both NSSCO (grade 12) and NSSCO (grade 11) are equivalent to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education [IGCSE)],” Pomuti explained.
IGCSE is part of the Cambridge secondary stage and is taken in over 4 000 schools in over 140 countries worldwide, including more than 1 500 schools in the United Kingdom. IGCSE is a standardised curriculum and accepted globally.
Pomuti, who has been at the forefront championing the Namibia education reform since independence, said generally, each university sets its own admission rules. In some countries, the ministry of higher education is responsible for establishing the entrance requirements for public universities.
Pomuti stated admission requirements to undergraduate programmes might vary depending on the choice of the degree. Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi recently directed that universities should admit grade 11 learners. However, Unam refused to toe the line, arguing the grade 11 learners do not meet the minimum requirement set by the university.
Unam vice chancellor Kenneth Matengu is on record saying the university was ready to enrol learners with a combination of NSSCO and Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary Advanced Subsidiary (NSSCAS) subjects in 2022 when the first cohort of NSSCAS will have completed their basic education.
Matengu said the understanding was and still is that the basic education curriculum would be revised and improved to the level of advanced
On the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), NSSCO is a level three qualification and AS is a level four. Entry level requirements for a Unam bachelor’s degree is level five.
Matengu said the registrar will address the exact combination Unam expects learners to fulfil in order to qualify for enrolment. “Learners who opt to exit at level three or do not qualify to proceed to AS are encouraged to follow the aims and objectives as well as the spirit of the agreed structure of the Namibian education system as presented to us in 2014.
It is our view that this position of Unam, as has been said before, does not contradict the stance of the ministry of basic education and is in line with what Cabinet approved,” Matengu pointed out. Higher education ministry’s spokesperson Selma Ngola said the minister is expected to meet with Unam management soon to iron out the issue and find an amicable solution to the grade 11 dilemma. For 2021, Unam admitted 6 954 grade 12 learners from an application pool of 46 000. “We do not have space for level three qualification.
We do not wish to compete with basic education for the top students it needs to progress to AS, which we will need once they have successfully completed AS. After all, our learners will be able to enter university anywhere in the world with AS,” Matengu argued.
Other local universities such as the International University of Management (IUM) and the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) have agreed to admit grade 11 pupils meeting the necessary entry requirements.