MoE not in favour of supplementary exams for Grade 10s

20 Dec 2013 16:50pm
WINDHOEK, 20 DEC (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Education (MoE) has turned down suggestions from parents who want the ministry to introduce supplementary examinations for Grade 10 learners who obtain between 20 and 22 points.
The minimum requirement for admission to Grade 11 is 23 points and a symbol above F in English.
A number of parents from the Khomasdal North Constituency expressed their concern to Nampa on Thursday, saying they fear for the future of children who fail Grade 10. They called on the ministry to consider allowing learners who have obtained between 20 and 22 points to write supplementary examinations instead of rewriting two or more subjects over the course of a year through institutions such as the Namibian College of Open Learning (Namcol).
The parents, who asked not to be named, said they worked closely with young people to try and help children from their community pass Grade 10, but to no avail.
This year's Grade 10 results have shown a slight improvement, with a pass rate of 54,7 per cent compared to 52,1 per cent recorded in 2012.
A total of 34 054 full-time candidates registered for the Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) examination in 2013, of which 18 613 have qualified for admission to Grade 11 in 2014.
The parents now fear that the children’s failure to obtain 23 points despite their hard work will have a lasting effect on them.
“Some of the children lose hope and become vulnerable and even turn to alcohol,” the parents said.
In an interview with Nampa on Friday, the MoE's communication officer, Johanna Absalom said the ministry has considered introducing supplementary examinations for Grade 10 and 12 learners, but implementing such examinations would be too expensive.
It also would not be practical because this would mean teaching time would have to be reduced as the normal examinations would have to be written earlier in the year to accommodate the supplementary examinations.
She then explained that the ministry instead made provision for the Grade 10 learners who have not met the minimum requirements for admission to Grade 11, and who are below 17 years old, to repeat Grade 10 at any school in Namibia.
Candidates above 17 years are allowed to further their education on a part-time basis with institutions registered with the ministry, such as Namcol.
Absalom further noted that formal education is not the only solution, adding that the Ministry of Education looks at the Namibian child in a holistic manner - that is, academically and vocationally.
“The philosophy of our education system is training and educating for self-reliance. A child should be developed with all necessary skills that will enable him or her to sustain his or her own life,” she said.
Speaking to Nampa on Thursday, the Namibia National Students' Organisation (NANSO)’s secretary of information and publicity, Owen Matengu said the organisation is not in favour of supplementary examinations at the moment.
He said they would rather want to ensure that learners pass.
“It’s better for them to repeat the grade so that they understand the content of the syllabus. It’s not about passing Grade 10, it’s about looking beyond university,” Matengu said.
He indicated that if the ministry introduces supplementary examinations, it will be doing the country's education system an injustice.