22 Feb 2018 14:30pm
WINDHOEK, 22 FEB (NAMPA) Member of Parliament (MP) Elma Dienda on Wednesday called on Government to turn the Namibia College of Open Learning (Namcol) into a fully-fledged university, in order to advance open learning initiatives.
Dienda, who represents the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) in the National Assembly, made the remarks when motivating the motion of improving support structures in education on Wednesday.
She said the Namcol Act of 1997, which led to the establishment of the institution, had, as one of its founding objectives, to contribute towards the social and economic development of Namibia by upgrading the educational level of adults and out-of-school youths.
According to Dienda, such noble ideals and inspiring dreams have however turned into nightmares in light of the dismal failure of the formal education system.
She said turning Namcol into a university will improve a lot of things at the institution that are currently challenges.
It is worth to note that the existing Open University of Botswana evolved from inspiration and motivation by ongoing contact with Namcol and also due to the upcoming curriculum in Namibia, Dienda said.
She noted the current system at Namcol has proven problematic due to a myriad of challenges the institution encounters.
Such obstacles include inadequate face-to-face tutors and a general lack of commitment amongst tutors as they are not directly part of the Namcol staff complement.
She added that Grade 10 drop-outs are in most instances too immature to handle distance education, while learners in remote rural areas in most instances lack transport to travel to Namcol tutorial centres.
Dienda further suggested that Grade 12 learners be allowed to write supplementary examinations, instead of going to Namcol as a first option.
This, she said, will ease the burden on Namcol.
The MP said while Namcol was initially created to mostly cater for adults who would want to return to school, Government almost immediately after the promulgation of this Bill into an Act of Parliament deviated from this objective by default as almost 95% or more of the students of Namcol are school drop-outs and not the envisioned adults.
An entire generation of our young, failed by the formal education system, must now depend on Namcol to further their education. These young people are often referred to as the lost generation, she noted.