Albertina Nakale Windhoek-The Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) says the 2018 matric results reveal one discriminatory feature that exacerbates the legacy of educational injustice and inequality, namely exclusivism, adding that it also observed a disturbing and worrying trend from private schools. The Nanso leadership feels private schools tend to avoid under-performance and have a strategy to maintain high matric pass rates by employing exclusionary policies – particularly charging exorbitant school development fees and applying selective, discriminatory enrolment criteria and controlled high-level subscription for learners. “On this we call on the ministry of education to keep private schools in check,” said Nanso president Ester Simon. The top ten candidates with the best overall performance nationally in six 2017 Grade 12 Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC) Ordinary Level exams at private schools are all from Kavango’s St Boniface College. Nanso noted the 2017 matric results also reveal regional inequality in terms of performance, as most central or urbanised schools have better access to resources and infrastructure. Out of 22,091 full-time candidates who registered for Grade 12 Ordinary Level in 2017, a total of 8,632 students qualified for tertiary education. In 2016 the percentage stood at 36.8 percent representing 7,772 candidates who had qualified for university. Simon said this is evident in schools in Khomas, Otjozondjupa, Oshikoto and Erongo regions because of access to higher level subjects and experienced teachers. They have quality results compared to rural schools that are under-resourced, many of which are challenged with no access to equipped libraries, textbooks, hostel accommodation, water, electricity and/or sanitation. “Matric performance over the last five years illustrates massive inequalities within education in Namibia. Rural regions such as Ohangwena have the most under-resourced and poorest schools. They have a high number of schools without water, electricity or sanitation. As a result, they also consistently record pass rates well below the national average,” she observed. On the other hand, she said, regions like Erongo perform better than the average. According to her this is to be expected, with less of their schools lacking water, electricity or sanitation and the best teacher-to-learner ratios in both primary and secondary schools. Ultimately, she stressed, access to resources is an important factor influencing matric performance. She said most learners from public ordinary schools with the lowest pass rates are from poorly resourced schools. “The differing and unequal education system between economic classes perpetuates racial inequalities. Class, race and inequality are interconnected in Namibia. Education is supposed to offer a way out of poverty for future generations, transforming existing patterns of inequality. Instead, our school system intellectually dispossesses learners who attend poor schools – exacerbating our legacy of educational injustice and inequality.” In interpreting the 2017 results, she opined one must therefore look at which regions, circuits, and schools are succeeding, and which ones are falling further and further behind. Nanso called upon the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture to release statistics covering all areas of inequality such as rural versus urban, informal settlements versus suburban, former white schools against former black schools. Nanso feels matric result celebrations are premature, because the overall results are worrying and very concerning. Nanso is worried about the pass rate that is below the national development target of 40 percent. “We are concerned about the average pass rate of 39.3 percent, and the consistently low performance that has for the past five years been below 60 percent.” Nanso’s analysis of the matric results are based on the system, because the matric pass rate of 39.3 percent does not reflect a complete picture, as these results only show results of those who managed to stay in the system for 12 years, it says. Nanso adds that the 2018 matric results evidently demonstrate their long-held critical view of the unequal basic education system, that reflects class, gender, racial inequalities and contradictions, that are manifested through performance patterns and trends. “Matric results do not honestly represent the state of education in Namibia – several contextual factors must be taken into account,” Simon critiqued.
New Era Reporter
2018-01-18 09:16:17 10 months ago