THE Namibia College of Open Learning (Namcol) has been overwhelmed by pupils who are trying to make telephone bookings to register for the 2021 academic year.
The college's director, Heroldt Murangi, said they have for the first time introduced a telephone booking system to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 at enrolment centres.
Pupils have to make a telephone booking to be given a dedicated time to come in for the enrolment process and to collect study materials as well as register for national examinations.
To facilitate this, new lines were activated at the head office and in the regions.
Murangi, however, said the centre was overwhelmed by calls and some pupils could not make bookings.
"In efforts to mitigate the deficit left by this system, we had to call it off with immediate effect as it did not yield the expected results and returned to the normal enrolment last Thursday," Murangi said.
Pupils are issued numbers for the day to avoid having large numbers at enrolment venues countrywide and only a maximum of 70 learners can be assisted per day.
Murangi, who was speaking at a media briefing in Windhoek, said the enrolment process commenced on 22 February.
"This process commenced in all regions and is a major activity in the academic calendar of the college, requiring careful planning including the packing and dispatching of materials to the regions that is normally done towards the end of the previous year," said Murangi.
He said this year the college will offer a curriculum for Grade 12 alongside the new one for Grade 11. This is to accommodate pupils who want to do the old Grade 12 programme for the last time before it is phased out.
The new curriculum has been introduced into formal schools. One of the main features of the new curriculum is that Grade 10 is no longer an exit point for pupils but Grade 11, he said.
A shortage of materials for Grade 12 was experienced after the huge turnout due to the demand for the old curriculum. In order to meet this demand, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture allocated N$4 million to print additional study materials for the 2021 academic year.
The plan is to have all learners receive their materials by 31 March 2021. There is a projected 30% increase in the new print-run for depleted materials in 10 subjects,including Accounting, Agriculture, English, Economics, Geography, Development Studies, Business Studies, Mathematics, Physical Science and History.
This will amount to an additional 20 000 learners at all centres countrywide, Murangi said.
"While we apologise for the inconvenience caused during the first week of registration, we urge learners to demonstrate patience as we believe that we will be able to assist all those who need placement for this academic year," he added.