The Namibian (Windhoek)

23 January 2013

Namibia: Karas Continues Slipping Down National Rankings

DESPITE an ongoing drive to improve Grade 10 and 12 results, the Karas Region has continued sliding down the national education rankings over the years.

Since 2006 the region has lost its reputation of being among the five best-performing regions in the national Grade 10 and 12 examinations.

According to the statistics, the region's Grade 12 class of last year hit rock bottom on the national ranking.

In 2009 the Karas Grade 12 class was ranked second and in 2008 it was fourth, but since then it has plummeted to tenth, ninth and 13th.

Since 2008 the region's Grade 10s have only managed to achieve a pass rate ranging between 41% and 47,5%. The highest pass rate of 47,5% was achieved in 2011.

In 2008 the region embarked on a project called U-Oa (meaning "take back" in Damara-Nama) to reclaim its position among the top-performing regions.

To date N$390 000 has been invested in the project that aimed at engaging parents in education. However, it seems the project has not yielded positive results.

Asked whether the project had failed to deliver, Karas education director /Awebahe Johannes //Hoeseb said: "The project is based on a top-down approach and did not deliver to our expectations, because the grassroots seem to have failed to take ownership of education."

However, //Hoeseb was quick to add that the project planted a seed of changing the mindset of parents and children who have started taking education seriously.

"One cannot expect radical changes because people have different cultural values. Eventually, we hope the seed that was planted will trickle down to the younger generation," //Hoeseb added.

//Hoeseb partly blamed the "disruptive and rude" behaviour of pupils in the classroom and underperformance of some teachers for the region's poor performance. He felt that children misbehaved because parents don't have control over them anymore.

Dr Preston Dausab, a general practitioner at Keetmanshoop and a product of PK De Villiers Secondary School, is also of the view that indiscipline among learners greatly attributes to the region's poor results.

"Compared to our time, learners now have too many rights at the expense of teachers' ability to discipline them," said Dausab, who completed Grade 12 in 2000.

According to Dausab, teachers are demotivated by the education system and this contributes to the poor performances of pupils.

"If teachers are not motivated, learners follow the demotivated teachers."

Dausab urged parents and teachers to show more interest in the future of children.

Despite last year's dismal Grade 10 and 12 performances, some Karas pupils were among the top 20 on the national rankings for subjects including economics, keyboard and word processing, Khoekhoegowab and Afrikaans second language.

Rebekka Saal of J.A. Nel Senior Secondary School and Jacoba Du Plooy topped the national ranking in Khoekhoegowab and Afrikaans second language respectively.

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