Education reforms are needed

12 January 2018 | Opinion

Every year there is brouhaha about the Grade 10 and matric exam results, with specific interest in whether the pass rate went up or down and which region or school came out tops, among others. This year is no different and the widespread debate about the recently released matric results is an indication that Namibians do care about the education sector. It goes without saying that education remains the key to the door of opportunity, without doubt. In her statement on Wednesday when she publicly announced the Grade 12 ordinary level exam results, education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa laid down the marker and called on teachers and other stakeholders to move away from the mediocrity of poor pass rates. She specifically noted with concern the poor performance in key subjects such as English, Mathematics and Accounting. This perennial poor showing of learners in these subjects can be attributed to many factors such as poor teaching, lack of parental support and the sheer lack of commitment on the side of the learner. However, the weak foundations that learners are exposed to also play a big role. A good education is the foundation of every qualified professional in this country and it is high time that considerable efforts are made to ensure that stakeholders adopt a number of programmes to help address such learning weaknesses. A pass rate of 40% does not give us much hope. It does also not inspire the education sector which wants all Namibian children by 2022 to have a secure foundation, as well as equitable inclusive quality education, in order for learners to pursue higher education. Government has prioritised the education sector by making significant investments to it every year. All stakeholders must go back to the drawing board once more, and holistically consider serious measures to improve the situation on the ground. It will not help passing the buck at this point in time as the education problems are systemic and would require a thoughtful and multi-faceted approach to tackle.