33% of AS qualifiers not in school
Some dropped out of the new grade 12 curriculum to find jobs, others are pursuing vocational subjects, and the remainder could not cope with the pressure and have decided to stay home for the remainder of the academic year.
15 October 2021 | Education
Of the 21 648 learners who sat for the grade 11 National Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary Level (NSSCO) examinations, 7 581 qualified to continue with the new Advanced Subsidiary (AS) curriculum.
Among these, 33.2% are not in school and will not be writing the examinations at the end of this year.
Currently, 5 021 learners are enrolled countrywide for the AS curriculum. The Khomas Region has the highest number of AS learners, with 953 enrolled at schools, followed by Ohangwena with 669, while Hardap has the lowest with 54.
While some dropped out of the new grade 12 curriculum to secure jobs and others are pursuing vocational subjects, others could not cope with the pressure and have decided to stay home for the remainder of the academic year. Meanwhile, few were forced to discontinue due to administrative blunders.
Rafael Uusiku was enrolled at a school in Tsumeb this year to continue with AS, with accounting, economics and English as subjects. Today, he’s at home waiting for the academic year to end so that he can get a fresh start next year after dropping out.
Uusiku said it was not his intention to drop out, but he was forced to due to a “misunderstanding”.
From the second school term, Uusiku was told that he could no longer proceed with the curriculum. “I was told that I do not meet the requirements of the AS level and I couldn’t be registered for examinations, so I was left with no choice but to drop out,” he said.
With 24 points in five subjects, he feels that he does not have many options.
“The course I wanted to do at the Namibia University of Science and Technology requires 25 points. I would have spent my year improving my subjects but it was too late by the time I dropped out,” he said, adding that the school “wasted his time” enrolling him when he did not meet the requirements.
According to him, he was advised to redo grade 11 at the school but refused as it was too late in the school year to catch up with the workload and he would just ruin the good grades he secured in three subjects.
“I just decided to wait until next year and improve the subjects I got lowest in”.
He commended teachers for trying their best although he said there are still a few who struggle teaching the subjects.
A teacher at a high school in Windhoek, who prefers to remain anonymous, said the adjustment to AS level was daunting as teachers felt that they hadn’t received sufficient training.
“There are no AS level teachers. We have to teach the new curriculum which is also difficult for us as there wasn’t sufficient training,” he said.
They are also faced with limited resources for the new curriculum. This was admitted by the education minister Anna Nghipondoka during her visit to the regions to motivate teachers.
She said there had been delays in the distribution of textbooks for most subjects, but they are now available.
“As for the low-entry subjects such as English and other African languages, the textbooks are currently not available. Our teachers at the moment use translated materials as well as additional specimen materials developed by the curriculum panels.
“The ministry plans to train selected teachers in material development for African languages with low learner entry on AS level to address the matter in the long-term”.
This year, the number of grade 11 learners has more than doubled, with 54 084 learners enrolled compared to last year’s 21 648. Of those enrolled this year, 46 771 are full-time learners.