‘Teaching done to remember, not to understand’ – Nanso

Home National ‘Teaching done to remember, not to understand’ – Nanso

Albertina Nakale

WINDHOEK – The Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) has reacted over the pathetic Grade 10 results indicating nearly half of the learners failed, saying majority of students are not fully equipped for the examinations. 

Out of 44 863 candidates who sat for Grade 10 full-time examination this year at 731 schools, 23 911 learners, representing 53.3 percent have qualified for admission to Grade 11 for 2019 compared to 22 363 (55.3 percent) in 2017. This means a whopping 20 952 

unfortunately did not make the pass mark of 23 points which is a requirement to proceed to Grade 11. 
The statistics indicate a drop in the performances of the candidates with 2 percent between 2018 and 2017.
Nanso President Ester Simon in an interview said preparations is not only completing the curriculum, but should consider psyche- the emotional readiness. 

She said a learner is expected to portray analytical and critical thinking skills during the examinations. 
“We are worried about the just released results, noting the decrease in the pass rate as compared to the pass rate of last year which in itself was already not satisfactory. Our learners are taught to remember and not to understand. Many are not prepared enough because the content of the curriculum does not mirror their immediate environment, hence making it difficult to comprehend its substance,” she reacted.

Equally, she said the results evidently demonstrate Nanso’s critical view of the unequal basic education system, that reflects class, gender and racial inequalities and contradictions, manifested through the performance patterns and trends.
“We must understand that education success is based on privilege, hence directly linked to a strong early childhood development foundation, household income and geographic location of the school. Secondly, many schools are still under-sourced despite the efforts and attempts by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, to address these challenges,” she reasoned.

She added most schools especially those in remote rural areas are with, under-qualified teachers, inadequate teaching resources digital inequity and poor infrastructures. 

Simon maintained most learners travel long distances to and from schools and often got no learner-support from their “mostly” uneducated parents, noting that they come from poverty-stricken communities and this directly affects their performance. 

Equally, she said there are still learners being taught in tents and under trees.
“How are these learners expected to perform, especially under very cold or sometimes extremely hot weather conditions?” Simon asked.

 She said government need to introduce robust, interactive, hands-on teaching methods in order to adequately prepare the learners. 
Further, she suggested learners should do more practicals, even in subjects like accounting that has shown to be poorest performed for over a decade. 

“For instance, learners can balance books of local tuck shops as practical, integrate subjects like entrepreneurship so that learners actively do the books of the entrepreneurs. Bring the curriculum to life. Equally so education should never be limited to a government ‘challenge’ but everyone has a role to play. Government must facilitate, Teachers must teach, Learners must learn, parents should actively supervise and the community must inspire. At this point in time, we as society should be focused on making education fashionable again,” she advised.

This year, she said Nanso visited all 14 regions to assess the state of education in the regions. She revealed their findings were very shocking, and saddening, as the learning conditions are not conducive for majority of the regions. 
She cited lack of motivation and inadequate resources, where eight learners sharing 1 textbook and 60 learners sharing one classroom were part of the founding’s which evidently contribute directing to the learner’s performance. 
She said Nanso is at a stage of finalising off a findings and recommendations paper to be submitted to the Minister of Education Arts and Culture.

Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) Secretary General Basilius Haingura is of the view that government implemented universal free education for primary and secondary education, adding some schools never received any support throughout the year from government.

“I am at the village. I have not seen the results. But it’s a pity if the Grade 10 results have dropped. Even in terms of the new curriculum reform, we most of the time, the Namibian government plan to implement something while we are not prepared. Unfortunately, I did not analyse the results to see the problems,” Haingura said. 
But he said there are many factors contributing to the high failure rates, such as teachers and learners’ attitudes, lack of parenting and lack of resources among other challenges.

Another issue he mentioned is lack school advisory services which he says this year officials were confined in the offices because they couldn’t move around to advise teachers due to unavailability of funds.
He believes if learners assessment can be done throughout the year, then learners will improve results.
He said it does not make sense that a learner gets for instance, an A symbol in a certain subject but gets an ungraded (U) symbol.