The education ministry says learners doing the new Advanced Subsidiary (AS) level curriculum should not feel threatened or punished but rather see it as a programme to equip them with the best skills and knowledge.
“The AS level should not be perceived as a threat but it is meant to prepare candidates with an in-depth subject knowledge, skills and competencies for entry to tertiary education,” said Tsumis Garises, the director of National Examinations Assessment in the ministry of education.
The ministry recently held a meeting with stakeholders at Oniipa in the Oshikoto region, with a view to discuss and address challenges faced by teachers and learners as well as the implementation of the AS level.
It was observed with concern that learners entering tertiary institutions with the former Grade 12, normally finds the going tough, as they are not exposed to the independent learning environment, she said.
Therefore, on a brighter note, Garises said, AS candidates will be expected to be self-centred and unlock potentials that will make them high flyers.
Meanwhile, education minister Anna Nghipondoka advised teachers not to be crybabies but rather embrace change and develop a continuous professional development for themselves.
“Let us go out of our comfort zones and groom children as early as Grade 1 – covid or no covid, let us excel. The introduction of AS is to allow all the learners, irrespective of their backgrounds, to do advanced level so that majority of them go to the universities and other institutions with in-depth knowledge,” she said. Nghipondoka further encouraged teachers to learn to face challenges with positive attitudes. She also encouraged them [teachers] to form smaller units and learn best practices from each other to educate the Namibian child.
In addition, the minister reminded teachers to take good care of themselves, saying they have the responsibility of educating; therefore, education should go on, despite the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
“However, the ministry would like to meet the demands of the Namibian society and keep abreast with the national trends. The curriculum review responds to challenges and needs of the Namibian society, thereby reducing the number of subjects in the junior secondary phase and expand the subjects offered on higher level in the senior secondary phase,” she stated further.
The curriculum is further aimed at strengthening learning support, strengthening the teaching of life skill as well as the teaching of the English Language from grade one onwards, and review the promotion and language in education policies. The Oshikoto region has 12 schools and 138 teachers offering AS. The region is ranked number four nationally in terms of the number of learners qualified to do the advanced subsidiary level, after Khomas, Erongo and Otjozondjupa regions, respectively.
The deputy director in Oshikoto region, Vilho Shipuata, is positive the region might retain its position, as 897 learners have enrolled for the AS level.
“April results show a 42% performance rate, but we will strive to keep it above 50%,” said Shipuata.
*Josephina Mwashindange is an information officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Oshikoto region.