12 January 2018

Namibia: No Space for 12 000 English Repeaters

MORE than 12 000 candidates who failed English in Grade 12 may not be able to find placement for repeating after Namcol said they could only accommodate 18 000.

Addressing a press conference in Windhoek yesterday, Namcol director, Heroldt Murangi said there were about 30 000 candidates who failed to obtain D in English, and would have to rewrite the subject.

He said while the candidates did very well in local languages, English as a second language "remains a thorn in the flesh" to many.

The English language is a prere-quisite for enrolment at institutions of higher learning.

"A great number of these learners might seek entry to Namcol for the 2018 academic year to improve their English results. Therefore, more than 30 000 might need entry to Namcol, while the college only has capacity to accommodate 18 000," Murangi said.

If the 12 000 learners who scored lower D in English, cannot be enrolled at Namcol, the only other option in Windhoek is The University Centre for Studies in Namibia (Tucsin).

While The Namibian could not reach anyone at Tucsin yesterday since their phones went unanswered, the college's website shows that their enrolment last year was 1 040.

According to the website, Tucsin had 1 049 learners in 2015, 945 in 2014 and 757 in 2013. This means that Tucsin will not accommodate more than 2 000 candidates seeking to improve their English language grades.

In any case, Tucsin could be beyond the reach of many since they charge N$5 450 per ordinary level subject, including core level subjects, and N$6 150 for Mathematics on an extended level.

These amounts include Grade 12 examination fees, the use of textbooks, a student card and a Tucsin T-shirt.

Namcol, on the other hand, charges N$90 as non-refundable registration fee, and N$290 per subject for Grade 12 subjects.

While last year's candidates obtained a D symbol and above, only 10% of the 20 333 candidates who took the English examination obtained a D and above.

Namcol also recorded a worrisome figure of more than 2 000 candidates obtaining an incomplete result.

"This is attributed to learners' failure to turn up for oral examination, or failing to sit for some of the components they had registered for," Murangi explained.

He pointed out that 29 181 of 34 021 Grade 12 ordinary level part-time candidates being registered with Namcol, indicates that they remain the largest open and distance learning institution in the country.

"Our learner population for both junior secondary certificate and national senior secondary certificate represents 95% of all part-time candidates," he said yesterday.

Regarding last year's senior secondary certificate ordinary level performance, Murangi said there was an improvement in the number of those who obtained symbols between A and G, compared to 2016.

Graded entries also increased from 78,5% in 2016 to 81,1% in 2017, showing a decrease of 2,6% in ungraded entries.

He agreed with education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa's statement that the performance of the part-time candidates could be described as "more than satisfactory, and a similar trend should be encouraged and affordably exceeded in 2018".

The director, however, raised concerns over the more than 10 000 Grade 12 ordinary subject entries which were recorded as incomplete.

Although the recording could be because of various reasons, this trend affects results negatively.

According to the institution's annual report for the year 2014/2015, Namcol had 25 239 Grade 12 ordinary level enrolments, and 18 higher level enrolments.

It was reported in 2016 that the institution was expecting about 27 000 Grade 12 candidates for that year.

Overall, Murangi said Grade 10 results for 2017 improved, compared to 2016.

He was quoted then as saying that because there are no other institutions in the country with such a big number of candidates, the institution is faced with many challenges.

Meanwhile, the institution used the same occasion to award some of the 250 nationwide beneficiaries with scholarships valued at N$300 000 collectively.

Murangi thanked the education ministry for making an additional N$36 million available to the institution.

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