Namibian learners currently doing Grade 11 and Advanced Subsidiary (AS) level are all under immense pressure and stress. The new curriculum that the Namibian government introduced into all government senior secondary schools almost two years ago has caused chaos within secondary schools.
Learners are struggling as they fight for their futures. The struggles start with the last phase of the Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary Level (NSSCO level), also referred to as Grade 11 (IGCSE). NSSCO is a two-year course that starts in Grade 10 and ends in Grade 11. Towards the end of the last phase of the level, learners are expected to have obtained at least three Cs in three of their six subjects to continue to AS level, which replaced Grade 12.
However, they are also presented with the choice to pursue further studies at a tertiary institution with their NSSCO level.
In the instance a learner fails to obtain the requirements for both the AS level and tertiary education, they have the option to either apply to Namcol to improve on the subjects they have failed, or they can go back to high school to repeat Grade 11. This, however, is only possible if the learner is under 18 years of age, which is absurd because it is less likely that a learner repeating Grade 11 would still be 17 years of age. Most of the learners are already 17 years old and turning 18 in Grade 11. This automatically drags the unfortunate learners to the streets, which is just the first fault within the education system. AS level is a battlefield on its own. Both AS learners and teachers have low morale as they approach the end of the year, as results are not looking good, and some learners are very vocal about their regrets about pursuing AS level. The teachers are all under pressure and stressed, as learners are not performing as expected. But how can they perform if there are leaks within the system?
Are the teachers not trained enough to convey the syllabus to the learners or are the learners just not trying hard enough?
There is chaos at high schools, caused by the blame game between the learners and their respective teachers. AS learners feel they are left unattended to fend for themselves. On top of that, they do not have the right textbooks, as textbooks either have a lot of printing errors or do not have the necessary information the syllabus requires. The learners constantly have to be mindful of what they have to study or else they might study content that is not up to Namibian standards. That is just more pressure added when trying to understand the workload.
Considering these facts, the government could offer longer and more efficient training to all teachers and provide textbooks within Namibian standards or provide a variety of textbooks so that the learners choose the ones they find most suitable.
Otherwise, the government could simply put this new curriculum on hold to patch up areas within the curriculum that are faulty and then reinforce it after all necessary adjustments have been done.
* Faith !Horases is a grade 11 learner at Academia Secondary School.